Employer confidence in the IT industry is at its highest level since April 2008, with 42 per cent of employers planning to increase full-time staff before September.
The latest Hudson Report, which surveyed 4211 employers across 19 industries, has found IT to have one of the highest confidence levels of all industries in Australia — 7.1 per cent higher than the national average.
The report attributes these increases to ICT investment in many sectors, including government initiatives such as its Smart Grid infrastructure project and the National Broadband Network. Contradictorily, however, employer confidence within the public sector has fallen for the first time in nine months and only 19.7 per cent plan on increasing current full-time staff numbers.
In the private sector, major IT hiring announcements have boosted confidence levels. Martin Retschko, national practice director of Hudson ICT, believes the up-tick in staffing plans are "either in response to projects that were put on hold due to the global financial crisis and are now being brought back online, or major drives in technology enhancement as a result of mergers".
Though Retschko suggested that along with increased hiring, skills shortages are also set to return to the IT industry. "There is no doubt that we are beginning to see a return to the severe skills shortages of 2007 in many areas," he said.
Companies need to look long term in their hiring practices to avoid getting caught with too many spare seats, according to the director.
"As employers work through back filling vacant roles, increasing capacity of their existing workforces through to hiring for new roles, more emphasis must be placed on employee performance," Retschko said. "Those employers who also put significant emphasis on forward-looking recruitment strategies will be best placed to deliver on growth opportunities and increase their competitiveness as market conditions continue to improve."