The Australian information technology sector is still nearly twice as confident as most other sectors, according to the most recent quarterly TMP Morgan and Banks Job Index. The index showed that 59 per cent of IT firms expected to hire new staff in the next quarter and only four per cent intended to downsize, giving a net effect of 55 per cent.
This is well above the national all-industry average of 30 per cent and is a great result considering the state of dot-coms and Internet start up companies. The IT industry is also far better placed for a bumper year in 2001 with a 13 per centage point increase in optimism over the same period last year, the index found.
However, levels of optimism are somewhat more subdued than the previous quarter's result of net 66 per cent, a drop of 11 percentage points.
IT employers in NSW are the most optimistic in the nation with a net effect of 57 per cent, an 18 percentage point hike over the results for the same period last year.
The South Australian Information Technology industry is also considerably more buoyant than it was in 2000 with a result of net 45 per cent, a 23 percentage point increase over the same period a year ago, the index showed.
The IT industry has enjoyed a huge boost in Australia over the last few years on the back of such factors as Y2K deadlines, GST deadlines, the Olympics, fast-changing technology and the Internet boom. We are now looking at the stabilising of a boom industry, which means it is not surprising to observe a decline over the record results we have seen in recent times.
Small, medium and large firms are recording consistent declines in job optimism, although it is forecast that medium-sized companies with 20-200 staff will be the most active in the quarter.