Recruiters expect temporary slowdown in IT vacancies

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Recruiters expect temporary slowdown in IT vacancies

The global economic slowdown might be softening the IT recruitment landscape, recruiters say, but the Australian skills shortage is far from over.

Specialist recruitment firm Olivier Group has observed a 9.73 percent fall in the number of IT job advertisements posted online during the past three months. According to the firm’s director Bob Olivier, the decline is led by a fall in permanent job vacancies, especially in the banking and public sectors.

“The big falls are in banking where sub prime write-offs and credit crunch are having direct impact on the larger investment banks,” he said.

“Jobs in the public sector have been subdued for the last 12 months and I would expect this to soften further if there is a tough budget in May.”

Noting that the economic downturn has led to staff layoffs in some U.S. firms, Olivier expects a subsequent easing off in staffing requirements of international branches also.

Senior recruitment consultant Priyanka Bhagat of Kelly IT Resources in Singapore shared similar expectations, saying it is likely that skilled staff may be more successful in their job applications when the economy takes a more positive turn.

However, she noted no evident change in demand for IT staff in Asia Pacific at present, adding that an economic recession in the U.S. may create more demand for staff in India and China.

“There are still a lot of companies who are doing aggressive hiring,” she said. “In fact, a lot of US companies who are not making losses yet are trying to replicate their business model in Asia Pacific before the recession hits them.”

“Australia is not a market that is ever seen as a replacement,” she said. “If they [U.S. companies] have to turn to other markets, they would first turn to India and then China. The idea is to cut cost and not change location.”

Local companies stand to gain from an improved supply of skilled staff, Olivier said, but there are companies that may lack the courage to capitalise on current opportunities.

“Firms have to be confident to hire,” he said. “I think there is still a lot of fear and uncertainty out there. If firms can look from a longer-term perspective this could be a golden opportunity to find those they would not otherwise have access to.”

And while the nationwide skills shortage may be improving, the country has yet a way to go in producing enough skilled staff to meet demands of the IT industry, he said.

“There are still global systemic shortages in many fields,” he said.

“This is a short to medium term balancing of the market. When will that situation return? It depends on how long and deep the US and potentially global recession lasts.”

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