Australian IT employers have developed a hiring confidence for the coming quarter at a level not seen since the start of the economic downturn, a new survey has found, despite a decline in permanent staff hires in past months.
The quarterly survey, conducted by recruitment firm Hudson ICT, looked at 4182 employers and found the IT industry has now one of the strongest levels of confidence across all industries in Australia since September 2008.
The survey found confidence in the IT industry has been boosted to net 44 per cent, signifying employer’s intentions to increase permanent staff levels in the coming quarter.
"Organisations across a wide range of sectors are currently making significant investments in technology in order to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, transform service delivery and improve the customer experience,” said Hudson ICT national practice director, Martin Retschko, in a statement.
The survey found the “softening” of the last quarter was a result of fewer employers increasing staff numbers, more employers maintaining current headcounts, and slightly more employers continuing to cut staff.
Despite the positive outlook for the coming months, the last quarter posted a drop in the number of employers across all industries planning to increase their permanent staff levels from 40.6 per cent to 39.3 per cent, the proportion of employers intending to hold headcount steady rose from 53.7 per cent to 55 per cent and the proportion of those looking to reduce staff increased slightly from 5.7 per cent to 5.8 per cent.
Recruiters from Hays and Advantages Jobs reported similar outcomes for the month of October, predicting strong growth in the coming quarter.
Employer confidence will remain steady in the telecommunications industry, according to Hudson ICT, with 27.3 per cent communicating their intentions to increase permanent staff levels in the next three months.
"While developments in mobile technology continue to drive expansion for telcos, considerable uncertainty for the outlook of the industry was stirred up by the intense political debate over the fate of the National Broadband Network during the Federal Election," Retschko said.
The survey’s finding are a step in the right direction, following a recent index run by Monash University and funded by Entity Solutions, the IPro Index 2010. The index found that independent contractors or ‘IPros’ (independent professionals) have remained uncertain about job security in the last 12 months.
These findings prompted a warning from the Entity Solutions chief executive, Matthew Franceschini, for IT managers to work more actively to meet the needs and welfare of these independent staff, or risk losing them.