Home-grown hires will meet local demand

Australian employers remain confident that within the next 12 months they will be able to locate most of their IT recruits within Australia with only 5 percent expected to be hired overseas.

The skill areas most susceptible to offshoring are software development, programming and call centre and technical support, according to a report by Diversiti, the recruitment arm of Accenture, which was released today.

Diversiti managing director, Deborah Howard, said employers involved in offshoring need to play their part by ensuring staff are given opportunities to diversify skill sets and remain relevant in the market.

"The jobs market locally is strong, but people in affected areas will need to concentrate their training and development elsewhere to remain competitive," she said.

When asked to nominate their most pressing IT staffing challenges over the next 12 months, 365 respondents to the survey of some 3000 IT employment decision makers cited retaining talent (69 percent), recruiting the right skill set (63 percent) and a shortage of candidates (61 percent).

Howard said a review of current sourcing strategies and training programs is needed to address concerns expressed about recruiting the right skill set and retaining talent.

Tertiary qualifications have the most influence when it comes to hiring IT candidates with 77 percent of respondents rating a university bachelor degree as having a high to very high influence on their hiring decisions.

A bachelor of IT or a combined IT and business degree are the two most preferred IT degrees nominated by 75 percent of respondents, a Bachelor of Computer Science being the third most popular choice.

Females continue to represent only a small portion of new hires attracted to the IT profession. More than 56 percent of respondents work in organizations where less than 30 percent of their total IT hires in the last 12 months were female, while 21 percent claim this percentage is less than 10 percent of their hires.

"Females, half of our population, are grossly under represented in the industry," Howard said.

"Combine this with the finding that nearly half of respondents cite competition from other professions as a factor that will contribute to hiring difficulty and it's obvious that IT has an ongoing image problem that needs addressing."

Commenting on the report, IT Minister Helen Coonan said the findings contribute to informed debate in the IT job market and identify both the need to recruit more women and what skills are in demand.

"Finding suitably qualified people with the right skills can be a complex task for employers," she added.

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