Oakton joins layoff list

Technology consultant Oakton has seen a number of redundancies within the last six weeks as the company reviewed its position in the market.

Technology consultant Oakton has seen a number of redundancies within the last six weeks as the company reviewed its position in the market.

ZDNet.com.au understands that the percentage of the company's 1,200 workers which were let go sat in the low single digits.

According to a source, the cutbacks were made due to reduced demand for specific services. Clients have been ordering less and deferring or deciding not to go ahead with projects which had been proposed because they themselves had seen a reduced demand or wanted to take precautionary measures against the current environment.

The source said that the staff reductions were not across the board, but targeted specifically at the areas which were seeing a lower demand such as project management. Further cuts were not expected.

Oakton had already begun to be more cautious with headcount in October, when CEO Neil Wilson said that the company would slow down its hiring of staff due to economic uncertainty. He said the company intended to reduce its exposure to the finance sector and focus more on government contracts.

Oakton's clients have included Sydney Water, ING direct, Customs, Victoria Police and AGL.

Carefully monitored staff numbers have not been a habit of Oakton in the past, with its acquisition of Acumen in 2007 doubling its staff from 457 to 1,003. Since then it had built its numbers to almost 1,300.

Wilson admitted in October that this number had been slimmed down with "some roles that were not replaced" although there hadn't been any redundancies at that time. The cutbacks reflect activity in similar firms such as UXC, Kaz and Dialog.

For the full story on IT layoffs, see ZDNet.com.au's scorecard.

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