Entry-level IT jobs diminishing in Australia: Recruiter

With diminishing employment opportunities, graduates may be more inclined to look at other industries.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

Entry-level IT positions will be fewer as companies look to automation and offshoring to boost business efficiency and cut costs, according to recruitment firm Morgan McKinley.

"More junior, entry-levelled opportunities and even low-level development positions can be offshored," Morgan McKinley Australia joint managing director Louise Langridge told ZDNet.

That doesn't mean IT graduates will be doomed to a fate of unemployment or working in unrelated industries. According to Langridge, there will be less demand for traditional IT roles as companies change with the evolving business landscape.

"If you look at core IT roles, there's just a shift towards different areas," she said. "There are more roles in IT architecture coming through. There's also demand for online and digital requirements for organisations looking at adopting cloud.

"There will still be opportunities for graduates coming through."

Langridge admitted that this hinges on just how fervently companies pursue offshoring. Nonetheless, Morgan McKinley's latest global report still saw uplift in hiring overall across Australia's IT sector.

But the future is looking grim for IT graduates. According to an ICT Workforce Study (PDF) by the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA), in 2011, 51 percent of all IT graduates aged 20 to 29 were not employed in the IT sector. This figure jumped to 70.2 percent in 2012.

The conundrum is that employers want workers who have experience in IT, and are not willing to invest in developing fresh graduates, but it is difficult for graduates to get experience in IT when nobody is hiring them, according to the report.

The AWPA has made recommendations to remedy this issue. Framing an IT career under an apprenticeship model, similar to how tradespeople learn on the job, would increase the chances for IT graduates to find a job in their field of study.

Meanwhile, in Singapore

The Morgan McKinley report also covered Singapore, which is suffering from a real skills shortage. Singapore is also unique in that despite a dearth of local IT talent, many sectors are still reluctant to recruit overseas.

But that doesn't mean that companies will take in just anybody. The most sought-after candidate, according to the recruitment firm, is "a local with technical expertise and great communications skills".

Morgan McKinley also noted that senior-level promotions, up to the CIO role, are usually made internally and involve people with no IT background. This means companies can sometimes lag behind when it comes to adopting new technology trends.

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