Skills index shows IT job opportunities shrink by 7000

Projects being put on hold through lean times

ICT recruitment firm Candle has published is latest Clarius Skills Index which cut the industry's shortfall of workers to 1000 people, down from 8000 in the last quarter of 2008.

The dramatic fall in the need for ICT workers has been blamed on companies shelving new projects.

The Clarius Skills Index for ICT professionals fell by 2.2 per cent in the 2009 March quarter to 101.1. A high of 103.3 was reached in December.

Labour force data from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Australian Bureau of Statistics is used to compile the index.

According to Candle ICT, the index reports that the global financial crisis has hit the business sector in Australia and most firms have put plans for additional recruitment on hold.

David Stewart, executive general manager of Candle ICT, at the Clarius Group, said: "We are seeing significant employment variations across all states in the computing industries with government sectors signalling shrinkage in opportunities as various departments cut costs following a dramatically increased Federal deficit.”

It's not all bad news, with Stewart saying there are some signs of increased demand for IT Managers in the private sector in the first quarter of 2009.

Around the states NSW has stabilised, the ACT has more job seekers, contracting is on the up in South Australia, and the Western Australia recruitment market is “still very flat”.

Also, any cuts to the skilled migration intake in the federal budget would not be made to professions on the critical skills shortage list such as IT, according to Candle.

The Skills Index reports says the demand for highly skilled computing professionals in fields like database management, networking and software development should remain solid, but overall demand for IT staff won't grow until world economic conditions begin to improve.

According to Candle this turnaround could occur during the second half of 2010.