SMS, DWS start hiring again

SMS Management and Technology and DWS are looking to hire around 80 staff despite the economic environment that has caused other companies to cut wages or introduce hiring freezes.

Australian IT services firms SMS Management and Technology and DWS this week said they were looking to hire a total of 80 staff, despite previous moves to cull numbers.

We're sold out in Brisbane and Sydney and have a low bench in Melbourne

SMS CEO Tom Stianos

SMS Management and Technology chief executive Tom Stianos said that the financial crisis had previously seen the company reduce the rate of recruitment so that the permanent staff headcount fell to 90 per cent of its former number.

However, due to a number of new contracts — including work for Queensland Rail and NSW's RailCorp, setting up a portal for Choice for price monitoring, and some new work which would be announced in the near future — he was now looking to hire.

"We're sold out in Brisbane and Sydney and have a low bench in Melbourne," he said. Stianos said that he needed 35 people in Victoria, a dozen in Queensland and a dozen in NSW in the immediate term, but that more could be required in the future.

"State government's going very very well," he said and although the Federal Government had been very slow as the crisis sunk in its claws, it had picked up a little over the last two months.

Speaking yesterday at the 2009 Rising Stars Micro Cap Conference, IT services firm DWS chief operating officer Vivian Clark said that her company was also looking to hire, with an immediate need for around 20 positions in Sydney, Canberra or Melbourne.

DWS had needed to cut some staff as well in Sydney in November last year after its headcount "got ahead of itself". She put the number cut at around 25 staff.

Yet now, the company was having trouble filling positions that were free. "I'm finding it difficult to find staff," she said. "I don't know where they've gone." When the news broke that CSG was going to let go of 100 former Commander staff after losing some key contracts, she said she looked there to hire. She found one person.

The news comes as recruitment firm Hudson released research results that said almost half of Australia's ICT managers have put hiring freezes in place.

Hudson surveyed 818 ICT hiring managers and found that 45.9 per cent would not be hiring until further notice, 30.4 per cent had redeployed staff to different sections of the business and 30.4 per cent would not be replacing staff as they left. "There's no doubt the global financial crisis has created an extreme level of uncertainty within the business community," Hudson ICT director Frank Wadsworth said.

Over one quarter, or 26 per cent, of those managers surveyed had already made redundancies as a result of the economy, while 22.9 per cent had looked to employees to take annual and long service leave.

"The last time the ICT employment market was so dramatically affected was after Y2K, when many companies shed IT employees," Wadsworth said.


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