While the last three months has seen flat IT employment levels, a rise in contractor hiring across Australia has contributed to very early signs of green shoots of recovery in the sector, according to IT recruitment firm Peoplebank.
Peoplebank’s quarterly IT&T salary index, which is based on salaries offered to permanent and contractor IT workers from April to June, shows that overall levels for contractors were lifted by around five per cent.
The survey also shows that IT employment levels remained lower than the high levels recorded in the first half of 2008 and demand was flat for much of the quarter.
Peoplebank COO, Peter Acheson, says that the hiring of contractors in the corporate and government sectors is a response to uncertainty -- a trend that has continued into July.
“This is the first positive sign of an uplift in confidence around hiring. I expect we’ll see contracting to strengthen over the next six to nine months, and I think it will take that sort of period before we’ll start to see companies start to hire permanents, if the economy improves,” Acheson said.
Peoplebank’s reports that in its May survey, only six of its top 50 clients had positive hiring intentions and 24 had a hiring freeze in place, where as the June survey found 19 had positive hiring intentions and 12 had hiring freezes.
Acheson says organisations moving ahead with projects that had been put on hold due to the economic downturn.
“The other reassuring sign is that we’re seeing corporate government organisations hiring people who are typically the sorts of roles you hire at the beginning of a projects, which means these organisations are planning to do IT projects going forward,” Acheson said.
The rise in demand for contractors was most evident in New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia.