Happy days are here again?

The crystal balls are out with the local and global consensus seemingly predicting recovery in the IT market, including budget spends, but times will remain hard.

The crystal balls are out, with the local and global consensus seemingly predicting recovery in the IT market, including budget spends, but times will remain hard.

Gartner has released its global forecasts, which says IT spends will remain at 2005 levels, though Forrester seems more optimistic. Last year was tough in Asia, but recovery is expected in 2010, with the Asia-Pacific leading the way in terms of both sales and the jobs market.

More localised breakdowns have not been given by the analysts but it does seem that recovery is underway. Surveys of IT leaders by Computerworld revealed some optimism by IT bosses, and this concurs with those I have spoken to over the holidays.

Certainly 2009 was a bad one, as the New Zealand Herald reports how the New Zealand operations of global IT firms took a big hit.

Microsoft New Zealand shed staff, profit and revenue; Sun also lost sales and moved into the red. Oracle saw a 28 per cent drop in profit despite revenue growth, with Accenture suffering most with a 30 per cent drop in revenue for the year ending 31 August.

However, Symantec prospered with both growing sales and profits.

The smaller businesses I have spoken to generally told me of a mid-year drop in 2009 but business picked up later in the year. One said there was "no recession" in IT, and you just had to work that much harder to get business. They all expect better times ahead in 2010, noting an absence of the global gloom of a year ago, though things will remain tough.

On the jobs front, we see some recovery, with much churning of staff and an end to bargains. The gap between wages in New Zealand and Australia appears to be growing again, leading to yet more Kiwis expected to work in Australia.

Indeed, I have noted this in the journalism market too, with many more vacancies than for a long time, even for IT roles. But as one editor told me this week, the market remains tough.