Aust IT&T job market climbing to its feet

After three years of suffering, the Australian IT&T job market is starting to get back on its feet with jobs available increasing steadily on a weekly basis. According to Robert Olivier, Director of Olivier e-cruitment, the trend started in mid 2003 when organisations began to feel more confident with the business conditions and started rehiring again.

After three years of suffering, the Australian IT&T job market is starting to get back on its feet with jobs available increasing steadily on a weekly basis.

According to Robert Olivier, Director of Olivier e-cruitment, the trend started in mid 2003 when organisations began to feel more confident with the business conditions and started rehiring again.

"They are looking once more into their IT needs and are starting to look for longer term solutions. Projects placed in the backburners for the last two to three years because of financial constraints are now being studied again," Olivier adds.

Olivier's prognosis for 2004 is that it will be far more favourable for the IT&T industry than the last three years. "This time last year, no one had great expectations of 2003. Everyone thought it would not be better than 2001 and the industry's morale was very low. But things picked up faster than anticipated, and although there is a lot of catching up to do, we know the number of vacancies can still double," Olivier says.

This is consistent with E.L. Consult managing director Grant Montgomery's view of the IT&T market this year. He says that although it was a bit low in January this year, there are signs of the job market consistently going up by more than 20 percent in the next two years.

"There has been an upward trend for the last three months and for this month alone, it has already gone up by 10 percent. Generally, our expectation is that there will be a steady rise, especially in the software development and engineering area," Montgomery said.

As for the rising fear of outsourcing jobs in the industry, both companies believe there is no immediate or long term threat to the local IT employees as well as fresh IT graduates.

The Olivier Internet Job Index showed that the software development and engineering sector as well as the management and sales sector already has an increase of around 20 percent since November 2003. Olivier says this healthy increase in the IT&T sectors, especially the core programming areas, demonstrates misconceptions about jobs being exported overseas.

"As the industry evolves, so will the skills of IT employees and graduates in the country. Not all jobs will go overseas. It will mostly be junior programming roles and a lot of the work will still be done locally," Olivier says.

Montgomery said the lower-level IT jobs will continue to decline as they are being shipped overseas, however he believes this will have no real impact on the IT market. "I don't see a long term effect because the types of jobs are changing from creation to application of the software. And instead of straight codes creations, there has been a boom in Web design courses among students. The jobs being outsourced are the ones that Australians are not good at to begin with," Montgomery said.

From February 2003 until February 2004, there has been a 58.9 percent increase in IT&T jobs available in Australia, with the software development and engineering sector leading the way, the Olivier index found. Olivier observed an average of 800 more jobs per week or a 55 percent increase during that period. The management and sales sector has also increased by 49.79 percent, a 600-job increase per week since February last year.