Report: Still jobs for retrenched IT workers

Despite downturn, opportunities remain for retrenched IT candidates in Asia-Pacific region, where companies face skills shortage, says recruitment firm Randstad.
Written by Sol E. Solomon, Contributor

Although one in five IT organizations in the region say they are likely to cut jobs this year, opportunities remain for retrenched IT workers, new research shows.

The 2009 Employment Trends Report, released Thursday by recruitment and HR firm Randstad, noted that 20 per cent of employers in the Asia-Pacific IT sector intend to cut headcount in 2009. However, the report revealed that 56 per cent of companies believe there is still a skills shortage and 25 percent expect to increase their headcount this year.

Malcolm Dunford, COO of Randstad's IT division, said technology professionals with the right capabilities will always be in demand. "Opportunities remain for those retrenched to quickly re-enter the workforce," Dunford said Thursday in the report.

While roles across most areas in IT are available, those with specific skills in business analysis, datawarehousing, Oracle or SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP), Web development and infrastructure, are of "particular interest", he said.

"To succeed in this challenging market, IT professionals need to be prepared so that if they believe they are going to be made redundant, then they are ready to hit the job market at full speed," Dunford advised.

He highlighted several tips to help IT professionals regain employment following retrenchment:

  • Prepare if possible: If retrenchment is a real concern, employees should prepare for the news and their future. "Updating your resume, keeping an eye on the current job market, and discussing opportunities with contacts in the industry can put you one step ahead, he said.
  • Understand the redundancy: It is important for IT workers to understand their rights, the redundancy package they are entitled to, and available services to get them back on their feet.
  • Accept support: While retrenched workers may feel anger, betrayal and resentment, they should grasp any advice provided. "If an outplacement service is offered, access it and the tools available. Drawing on expert advice and accessing career advice available can quickly place yourself in a positive position to go out and secure your next job," said Dunford.
  • Stay positive: The key is to stay motivated, maintain an open mind and take positive steps to get back onto the employment path.
  • Use your personal network: Employee referral programs are a very popular way for IT organizations to recruit staff. "It is important to be well respected by your peers if you want to maximize your chances of being referred for a new role," he said.
  • Use social networking: By using as many social networking tools that are available such as Facebook, IT professionals can communicate with many potential employers, referrers or recruiters.
  • Be honest in job interviews: Understand that retrenchment is no reflection on performance, but rather an economic reality now. There's no stigma attached to being retrenched, as most employers are aware of the current economic situation.
  • Be realistic about the package: People must understand it does not make sense to demand big pay packages when a potential employer is under pressure to reduce costs. If IT professionals have a more realistic package expectation, they will become more attractive to potential employers and be in a good position for a rise when business improves.
  • Demonstrate your value: Employers now are only looking for professionals who are close to a 100 percent-match to the vacancy. "You need to be very clear on what you bring to the table, and maximize your opportunity by targeting organizations that can utilize your skills and experience," said Dunford.

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