Costly contractors to cause full-time push

IT recruitment expert firm Candle has said that companies might turn their eyes away from contractors in the coming months, as it becomes cheaper to hire full-time workers, referencing the latest Clarius Skills Index.

IT recruitment expert firm Candle has said that companies might turn their eyes away from contractors in the coming months, as it becomes cheaper to hire full-time workers, referencing the latest Clarius Skills Index.

The supply of computing professionals grew by 1500 people to 213,400 in the September quarter, but demand only added 1300 jobs (to 214,300), narrowing the skills gap from 1100 to 900.

The uncertain economy is leading companies to hire contractors over permanent staff, according to Linda Trevor, executive general manager of Candle, but she believed that this would change in the new year as the economy firms and demand pushes up the contractor wage.

"We are very close to the optimum supply of computing professionals, and competition is going to increase wage demands. Employers will need to manage the changing job climate and plan ahead," Linda Trevor, executive general manager of Candle, said in a statement.

"Remuneration is expected to grow around 10 per cent across all states and territories, and, given the project cycle, upward wages pressures will likely emerge for testers and developers in the next six months."

There are already multiple job offers being made to candidates in Brisbane, she said, with business analysts, developers, helpdesk personnel, intelligence analysts, testers and Java programmers in demand.

Melbourne has more demand for contractors in the areas of project management and development, while the Sydney market shows a slowing uptake of contractors.

"In Perth, companies are dealing with the skills shortage by taking on less-experienced people and providing training. Demand for developers, business analysts, systems administrators and higher-level helpdesk staff is still strong in Perth. There are upward wages pressures for people with these skills."

Canberra is picking up as an employment market, because of the Federal Government's hiring plans, she said.

Unfortunately, the number of graduates coming out of Australian universities is not rising fast enough, which could lead to shortages in the future.

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations' (DEEWR) statistics on Award Course completions in 2010 showed that 13,500 persons graduated with a degree in IT in 2010, Candle said, only 14 per cent more than the number who graduated with that type of degree in 2000.

"As the economy picks up, because of the slowing rate of IT enrolments and graduates coming onto the market, it is going to be increasingly difficult for organisations, in both the private and public sector, to find the right computing skills for a wide range of critical projects," Trevor said.

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