Demand for execs increases

Demand for higher-paid Australian executives is on the rise and showing signs of recovery, according to an executive search firm.

For the first time since February, the demand for executives in the information technology industry rose in June.

The EL Executive Demand Index rose by 5 per cent last month compared with the previous month, with the IT sector finally showing some signs of life.

The EL Index suggests this may be a 'relief rally', with corporate Australia no longer able to run and expand their systems without more IT help.

Grant Montgomery, managing director of EL Consult - publisher of the EL Index - said executive employment tends to lead changes in the overall job sector, and the result suggests that the Australian job market "might just be dragging itself of the floor".

"It is going to be slow, but a recovery can be expected in the coming months," Montgomery said.

After four straight months of losses, the gains in the EL Index in June show high demand for executives in the financial, management and IT sectors, which bodes well for the future, according to Montgomery.

"Particularly in IT, any positive result is a good one given the dire state of the market over the past 12 months. It is too early to say whether this improvement is the beginning of an upward trend but one can be confident that IT demand is somewhere around the bottom curve," he said.

Montgomery said overall the results of the EL Index are "consistent with the general mood of the business sector, namely that the current downturn is a bit like the tide going out before a big wave".

With many business strategists now planning for a huge demand boost around the final months of this year, Montgomery said unless something unpredictable happens internationally this seems a likely and sound proposition.

According to the EL Index, it is still unclear whether IT has seen the bottom of demand, but the signs were better in June, with both the private and public sectors showing significant gains.

New South Wales was the stand-out performer among the larger states, according to the Index, while Western Australia was the strongest of the smaller states.

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