Taking lessons from the Kiwis on ICT employment: Candle

IT recruitment firm Candle has indicated in its latest study that Australia's ICT industry needs to be as flexible as it is in New Zealand to ensure future growth within the sector.

New Zealand's ICT sector is booming significantly in comparison to Australia, a new study by IT recruitment firm, Candle, shows.

The Clarius Skills Indicator, which measures the demand and supply of skilled labour in Australia based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Department of Employment, and Statistics New Zealand, shows that New Zealand's exports of computer and information services grew on average by 7.3 percent per year in the five years to 2013, reaching AU$452 million.

Over the same period, the Indicator shows Australia's exports of computer and information services grew only an average of 1.5 percent per year to AU$1,768 million.

According to the report, the main factor feeding this growth in New Zealand is the flexibility of the New Zealand labour market.

"New Zealand’s labour market is much more flexible than ours, as the share of workers on individual contracts is much higher in New Zealand than it is in Australia," said the Candle Market Update report. "This gives New Zealand employers much more flexibility to manage their businesses effectively."

The flexibility incentivises employers to take on new workers, and allows them to quickly adjust their labour arrangements, which Australian businesses lack, the report said.

The Candle Market Update also shows the most sought after skills in the next 12 months will be those supporting the growth of software and web-based software companies, such as skills in C# and Java Script frontend IOS and UX, web based development, and design tools. This is in comparison to project management — the only category in oversupply of talent.

The report indicates that by 2019 in New Zealand — where bosses have flexibility and more incentive to hire — the unemployment rate will be 4.5 percent, while in Australia it will be 5.5 percent.

The Update also suggests New Zealand's "give it a go" confidence also has something to do with the ICT boom, and believes the likes of Xero, Movio, and Silverstripe are evidence of that.

At the same time, the boom in the New Zealand ICT industry is seeing more people choosing to take up contract roles rather than take up permanent employment.

"Candidates know when the market is going well and they’re making hay while the sun shines. Everyone is going out contracting again," the report said.

"Candidates are holding out for contract roles, preferring to wait three to four weeks to pick one up rather than take a permanent role."