Skilled migrants entering Australia are causing IT workers to feel threatened in their jobs, according to a new survey.
Nearly 1800 IT professionals were surveyed by recruitment firm Greythorn in the first quarter of this year, and more than one third were found to feel threatened by the amount of skilled workers entering the country.
The findings come as the government attempts to push through legislation designed to crack down on 457 visa abuse.
Greythorn managing director Richard Fischer said the political commentary on 457 visas was not beneficial to the IT industry, given the global nature of IT recruitment.
“It’s difficult for the IT industry because we need to promote bringing new skills into the country,” Fischer said.
“There are some projects that are new in Australia that have been completed in other countries and it’s much more effective to bring in experts than bring locals up to speed… I don’t see any impediment to doing that other than the negative sentiment around.”
Fischer said despite some workers feeling threatened by skilled migration, cost was not the issue employers considered when using 457 visas.
“I haven’t had any enquiries to bring in 457s due to cost, that is not a business conversation.
“To be able to sponsor an IT worker they need to be on a fairly significant salary and they need to meet strict criteria, and our organisation needs to meet strict criteria on the reasons for doing it. I think the Department of Immigration manages that very carefully. If there’s rorting going on, it would be an isolated case.”
Greythorn’s survey found while 54 percent of IT workers questioned were satisfied in their current role, candidates within the public sector felt particularly insecure, which the report suggested was possibly “due to the upcoming election and budget cuts within the public sector”.
Half of the government respondents believed that there were fewer jobs available within the technology industry than in 2012, compared with 46 percent for the overall group.
Outsourcing continues to be a threat to the technology industry according to the report, with over 25 percent of respondents having lost a role due to outsourcing.
A further 20 percent were worried their role may be outsourced in the future, it found.
Fischer said the outsourcing trend would continue.
“The IT workforce in Australia has to focus on those competencies that won’t be outsourced.”
He said IT graduates shouldn’t be dissuaded by outsourcing, as other areas like business analysis and cloud computing offered career opportunities.
Fischer said the standout finding of the survey was that IT workers have over time become less focused on remuneration and job security and more focused on job flexibility and the role’s “future value proposition”.
“It’s implying a reasonably skeptical IT workforce, that people understand things change so they’re rolling with what they’re told at the time,” he said.
“For the workforce in general, and particularly IT workers, lifestyle is important and the ability to work from home one day per week, if they can, is significant.”
The survey found some 43 percent of respondents were actively looking for work, an increase from 32 percent in 2012. Only 7 percent were in no way interested in changing roles.
This represents a misalignment between employer and employee perceptions, with Greythorn’s hiring intentions survey showing employers believe only 11-25 percent of their staff would consider changing roles.
Over half of the respondents would consider international relocation to further their career, with the UK the number one choice for relocation.