GFC led to a jump in IT recruits: Wadeson

GFC led to a jump in IT recruits: Wadeson

Summary: The advent of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) saw a temporary spike in IT graduates looking for secure government jobs, according to the Department of Human Services' deputy secretary of ICT infrastructure John Wadeson.


The advent of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) saw a temporary spike in IT graduates looking for secure government jobs, according to the Department of Human Services' deputy secretary of ICT infrastructure John Wadeson.

John Wadeson

John Wadeson(Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

Speaking at an SAS Forum panel discussion moderated by ABC TV's Q&A host Tony Jones in Sydney this morning, Wadeson said Centrelink (now part of the Department of Human Services) usually takes on 150 IT graduates every year.

"Two years ago when we went to the market I think we got 70. Last year, after the GFC, we were getting 200," he said. "All of a sudden a job in the government looked better."

Wadeson said that due to a lack of IT graduates coming out of Australian universities, he didn't expect the surge to last.

"I think this is a temporary reprieve. We talk to universities all the time and some places saying now they will only run information technology as part of the degree," he said. "We're just not getting enough students wanting to do the full IT degree."

"The universities [blame] the dotcom bust, but we're a long way from that now and although there are some who are innovating and trying to build up the numbers, I think it is a very serious issue because Australia is becoming increasingly dependent on information technology."

Wadeson changed his role from being Centrelink CIO to the deputy secretary of ICT infrastructure for the Department of Human Services when the government began consolidating Centrelink, Medicare and the Child Services Agency earlier this year.

Topics: Government, Government AU, IT Employment


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Why would centre link need 150 IT graduates every year??? is the organisation doing that much computer programming??? not likely...its more likely that the job agency (centrelink) is creating jobs to get new graduates off the dole so federal labor party can justify its immigration understanding is that IT graduates is one of the largest migration intakes out of all the industries because its not union protected... my understanding is that there are as many experienced IT graduates leaving the industry in disgust, as there are coming out of the univertisities...perhaps the industry should put a little more thought into retaining staff cause my understanding is that conditions are ridiculously atrocious...
    swinging voter
  • I am in my Second Year of University studies, live in WA and doing IT.

    I feel some universities would get more IT students if they organised some other kind of IT degree, could there ever be a IT Support Degree or a General IT degree and you can choose to go down one path of specialisation if you wanted to ? I don't really know. When I first enrolled in University i quite enjoyed the look of a security based IT degree and i am into my second year of that degree, but if you are someone who doesn't like Security based IT or programming then i would think your only options left are the business merged with information systems degrees(Your IT degree choices may vary between Universities) or work your way up through the TAFE system and complete a Diploma/Advanced Diploma.
  • Reducing contractors and increasing skilled APS staff was a key recommendation of the Gershon Review (recommendation 5.4.2). One of the approaches to the achievement of this desired outcome was the conversion of ICT contractors into permanent roles. In reference to this Sir Peter Gershon stated that shortages in this area were in the “highly-skilled” roles .

    According to the Longhaus Australian Government ICT Contractor and Consultant Study (ICT Personnel Survey), the majority of these conversions have occurred at senior levels, and in technical roles. However 22% of permanent conversions reported having never held an ICT role before joining the Australian Government. Qualitatively the evidence suggests that more junior resources may not be seeking permanent roles (whether influenced by GFC economic or other factors). According to the study focus group, those juniors that are seeking work inside the Australian Government are coming from overseas channels.

    With a fifth of all staff coming into the sector being “green” or new to the industry, the question of quality (in this case by the measures of capability and capacity) will feature significantly in the overall success of the AGIMO program.

    When respondents were asked about their roles prior to entering the public service, 22% indicated they were new to the ICT industry, 22% were public servants from other agencies or jurisdictions, and 19% were permanent private sector employees, and 11% were private sector contractors.
    Peter Carr