The good times appear to be returning for IT executives in 2004, according to a recruitment expert.
But while demand for IT executives rose sharply in last month of 2003, overall demand for executives fell two per cent, according to the EL Executive Demand Index.
The overall result was strong given the normal December holiday slowdown, officials said.
The monthly index showed demand for IT executives rose 37 per cent in December, hitting its first calendar year increase since 2000.
EL Consult Australia managing director Grant Montgomery said 2004 looked far better for IT executives than the past four years.
"Coupled with the traditional four-year IT equipment replacement cycle…we expect further improvements in availability of IT executive positions', Montgomery said adding that the The US Semiconductor Industry Association is expecting double digit growth in 2004.
"IT is back on the agenda. Computers have proven their worth when it comes to cost cutting.
"The challenge now is for the industry to provide systems that can improve customer service and that's where you are going to see the investment in ."
Across industry sectors demand for IT execs was the greatest, followed by marketing and management. The demand index for finance executives fell slightly, while engineering slipped after a strong November result.
Western Australia is now the largest employer of executives per capita in both the government and business sectors, the Index said.
"This has been recently helped by the continuing good fortunes of the resources market."