IT pros increase their share of the Aussie job market

If ever there was a time to brush up your CV and go job hunting, maybe this is it.
Written by Phil Dobbie, Contributor

Provided you are equipped for changes in the structure of an industry where outsourcing and offshoring is becoming more prevalent, the IT job market isn't too bad right now.

Each month, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) collates data of advertisements of various online job boards. The methodology is a little flawed in that advertisers are clearly shifting to other channels (like LinkedIn) not covered in the report, hence their figures have shown massive drops for the last few years.

In fact, across the board, its data shows a 21 percent drop from July 2012 to June 2013, yet, in reality, the news is far more positive than that. The latest labour force data from the ABS seems to only show good news. Unemployment is steady, at around 5.7 percent, and the underutilisation trend (those unemployed and those who work less than they could) has been on the way down since the early '90s.

The DEEWR figures are useful, though, for showing shifts in the proportion of jobs by occupation. While it might be flawed as a measure of total job numbers, it still accounts for a significant proportion of all advertisements, and, rather usefully, breaks them down into occupation type and geography.

For example, roles for IT professionals have fallen 20 percent by their estimation in the last year, but against a 21 percent drop overall, that means a proportional increase in the share of all jobs of 2 percent. And the sector now accounts for 21.4 percent of all professional jobs advertised, up from 19.5 percent a year ago.

Image: Phil Dobbie/ZDNet

This increase in IT professionals' share of the job market isn't universal, however. As the graph shows, NSW and WA are making steps forward, but it's a less encouraging trend elsewhere.

But before you jump on a plane for Perth, a word of caution: WA accounts for only 7.8 percent of jobs advertised for IT professionals. The vast majority are in NSW, which has seen massive recovery in the IT sector lately, after being hit harder than most during the global financial crisis. A year ago, the state accounted for 40 percent of all jobs advertised for IT professionals; now, it's up to 47 percent. In June 2013, there were twice as many jobs advertised in NSW than in Victoria, and four times more than Queensland.

If you're on the hunt for a new gig, your best chance is in the harbour city.

Or start your own business. If the latest MYOB Business Monitor is to believed, startups work fewer hours than their peers. The average worker in a startup puts in 39.7 percent per week, compared to 40.6 percent for SMEs overall. So starting up your own business might be an easier life. Although, in reality, it's probably a demonstration of why so many startups fail. Best to take the corporate job if you can.

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