The Australian ICT industry is on the brink of slipping back into a chronic skills shortage, just as the jobs market begins its road to recovery, according to a recruitment specialist.
Candle ICT CEO, David Stewart, said as more projects get underway and the demand for positions rises, the skills shortage will get progressively worse and potentially back to a pre-economic downturn situation.
“In 2010 we can expect to see some pretty chronic shortages develop in the ICT area and that’s going to constrain our ability as a nation to be able to grow because it’s going to be hard to deliver on some of these infrastructure and telecommunications projects due to a lack of people,” Stewart said.
The Clarius Skills Index for the December quarter recorded a slight labour surplus of 500 workers across the ICT industry, with a reading of 99.8. (An Index score of 100 indicates equal division between job supply and demand).
Stewart said while the bargaining power is back in the hands of job seekers, outsourcing could become an attractive option as companies struggle to find labour in Australia.
“The power is starting to shift back to the job seekers already, the bargaining power is switching back and the candidates are starting to get more choosey and demanding,” he said. “It is also certainly clear that the employees within ICT are going to have a lot more bargaining power from now onwards.”
The news follows on from the latest results for the Olivier Job Index, which reported growth in IT job ads, up 0.49 per cent in December.
Recruitment firm Hays, however, urged employees and job seekers to think twice before demanding higher salaries in 2010, despite the recovery in the IT job market.
Developed by KPMG Econtech for Clarius, the skills index analyses labour demand against supply, using ABS and Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations labour force data.