Tight jobs market to feel skills pinch post 2010

Wages set to increase as a result

Don’t wait for the New Year - start looking for a new job now - is the recommendation of one recruitment agency which predicts a soft market in 2011.

Research from another firm predicts a skills shortage as far out as 2015.

According to the latest Advantage Job Index, the number of jobs in November increased by 3.38 per cent while the number of advertisements declined week by week, signalling a slowing of the job market in the lead up to Christmas.

Nationally, IT and telecoms jobs are up 4.68 per cent from October – a 33.21 per cent increase from November 2009. In October, IT jobs were down 1.5 per cent.

Bob Olivier, director of global market intelligence at Advantage Resourcing, said employers want new teams in place and “ready for action” in January, so those thinking of changing jobs should act now.

“Traditionally New Year resolutions and the long summer break are catalysts for a rise in the number of job seekers in January, but by that stage a number of jobs have already been filled,” Olivier said. “All the indicators suggest it will be a tighter job market early next year.”

The biggest sector winners in the past month were transport (11.1 per cent), engineering (9.1 per cent) and legal (7.7 per cent).

Most sectors recorded healthy growth in the past month with two exceptions. Financial services and banking was the only industry to record a decline (2.3 per cent) while sales, marketing and retail recorded a rise of just 0.58 per cent.

The best performers for IT jobs by state were: ACT (27.72 per cent); South Australia (11.6per cent); Tasmania (14.67 per cent); NSW (4.93 per cent); Queensland (2.2 per cent) and Western Australia (0.75 per cent).

The only state in decline (-0.06 per cent) was Victoria.

In terms of job types, the biggest growth areas (monthly and yearly, respectively) were: desktop support and helpdesk (14.8 per cent and 63.1 per cent); database (10.4 per cent and 23.4 per cent); hardware engineering (8.3 per cent and 25.7 per cent); system administration and support (6.2 per cent and 35.3 per cent); and networks, comms and security (4.8 per cent and 39.4 per cent).

IT skills shortages to persist through to 2015: Report

Business and government departments will face an ongoing shortage of skilled IT professionals through to at least the end of 2015, according to the Candle Skills Index forecast.

Unless changes are made to 457 visa and skilled migration policies, the agency warned IT projects could be forced offshore.

The index shows that while the sector will grow by around 20,000 by 2015, demand will outstrip supply with an average annual shortfall of 2700 people over the next five years.

The Candle Skills Index forecast - which uses analysis by KPMG Econtech based on data from the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relation (DEEWR) - predicts the existing skills shortage, which at September 2010 represented 3200 skilled professionals, will remain through to September 2015.

Candle executive general manager, Linda Trevor, said the forecast supports the need for changes to existing restrictions on hiring on 457 visa processes.

“The onerous way employers have to go about getting labour hire agreements restricts them from making visas a flexible recruitment option,” Trevor said.

“[Without changes], the amount of offshoring that companies are forced to do will undoubtedly increase. This will have a significant cost to the economy, not least with money that would otherwise be circulated through the community.”

Trevor said a Capgemini survey earlier this year showed some 19 per cent of outsourcing undertaken by Australian companies was sent offshore, compared with 14 per cent internationally.

“The value of offshoring in recent years involving IT projects and related work is reported to have exceeded $7 billion dollars,” she said.

In the next 12 months demand for IT professionals was set to swell by around 13,000 and there would still be a shortfall of 2900, according to Candle.

Driving the shortage is the retirement of experienced computing professionals over the next few years and the drop in university applications and acceptances for computing-related courses.

Trevor said wages are set to increase across the board as a result of the shortage.

“We predict increases in both contract and permanent categories, ranging from around 5 per cent in the eastern states to as high as 20 per cent in West Australia where demand is being driven by the resources boom,” she said.

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