IT jobs market experiences unexpected drop throughout October

The decrease in job ads comes despite months of strong performance, as the overall jobs market grows for the third consecutive month

Despite strong recent gains placing it as a leading occupation, Australia’s IT industry has experienced a surprise drop in the number of job ads throughout October, while the wider jobs market has had its third consecutive month of growth.

In the latest monthly index from Advantage Jobs, IT job ads posted a 1.54 per cent drop on last month’s figures, while job ads overall experienced a third consecutive month of growth with a rise of 2.02 per cent.

Advantage Jobs Index director, Robert Olivier, told Computerworld Australia the drop was difficult to explain in terms of causal factors, however maintained that the trend is still upwards.

“The trend is clearly up following a very strong September, I think this is an aberration rather than a redirection,” Olivier said.

Specifically, the index recorded decreases for both NSW and Victoria, but also noted an unexpected increase for the ACT.

“During elections Federal Government departments put hiring on hold due to uncertainty.” Olivier said. “Now the election is over this is a catch up.”

Despite the drop in IT ads, Olivier noted that while factors such as the strong Australian dollar have impacted many industries, IT remains unharmed.

“I don’t think it will play a significant role, it does mean that imported hardware will be cheaper so people will spend more but that won’t create jobs,” he said. “I don’t think it will hurt IT exporters.”

IT job ads for graduates fell 17.1 per cent for the month, and recorded a decrease of 7 per cent over the last 12 months.

“It’s a tough one, grad ads at low volumes are so notoriously volatile,” he said. “October is not a critical month in the grad employment cycle so I’m more concerned with the 7 per cent fall YOY [year on year] compared to 29 per cent increase for all grads.”

Back in September, Olivier predicted the sector would remain strong in the lead up to Christmas, a sentiment he maintains after October’s lacklustre results. He noted that while interest rate rises could hurt sectors like retail, IT runs on a longer cycle and should be unaffected.

The report attributes the rise of 8.34 per cent in overall job ads in the last quarter in seasonally adjusted terms, to improved business confidence and increased hiring activity, with the number of online job ads 29.86 per cent higher than October 2009.

As reported by Computerworld Australia, IT managers have been warned not to become complacent about staff needs and have been advised to respond to these needs or risk losing staff in a time where skills or of short supply.

For more on the IT market visit Computerworld's Careers Section.

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