Australian IT hiring turns to contractors

Despite leading the economy in willingness to hire contractors, IT has returned to favouring contract staff over permanent hires for the first time in recent years.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

With IT seeping into all areas of the business, and working on a project basis, the hiring of IT employees in Australia has taken a turn towards contracted hires, the latest edition of Hudson's Employment Trends report says.

Surveying 2,887 Australian employers about their hiring intentions, the report said that 29.4 percent of respondents intended to hire contract IT staff, with the intention to hire permanent IT staff falling 3.6 percent from the last report to 25.2 percent.

"Project work is always a primary driver for contractor demand and the continued investment in business transformation projects across the country is one key demand generator for contract IT professionals," said Tim Davis, director, ICT at Hudson.

Davis said that the upcoming federal budget due in May was a likely reason for businesses are waiting to make permanent hires.

"Organisations are also being more cautious in their hiring procedures; making sure they make the right hire. The decision process for making a hire has lengthened, with relevant commercial and technical experience, and also a good cultural fit, being key criteria," he said.

Permanent Hiring Expectations - Australia by Industry
Image: Hudson


Overall, IT led the economy for the third straight quarter, with the intention to hire rising 2 points to 29.4 percent, followed by the public sector on 23.8 percent, and human resources up 6.8 points to 22.2 percent.

On an overall state basis, NSW jumped 5 points to lead the country on 27.9 percent, followed by South Australia on 24.7 percent as the only other state above the national average of 23.3 percent. Queensland was next on 22.5 percent, with Victoria on 21.7 percent, Western Australia with 20.2 percent, and the ACT on 15.8 percent. Tasmania was not listed in the report.

Hudson executive general manager, Dean Davidson, said that the jump in NSW was a sign that the country was moving away from a two-speed economy and becoming more balanced.

"An improved hiring outlook for NSW gives confidence because its economy is broad-based, with a balanced range of industries and professions. Often a strong employment outlook for NSW is a good indicator for the direction the national economy might take," Davidson said.

"With NSW's strengthening economic growth we've seen a sizeable employment increase in professional service businesses, while organisations continue to drive and leverage operational efficiencies via IT infrastructure enhancements and IT outsourcing."

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