Power shift: employers drive job market

The tables have turned; IT professionals no longer have the power in the job market and employers are now calling the shots.

With the slowing economy IT professionals can no longer pick and choose and are unwilling to take the risks they were taking just a few months ago, according to Lina Papillo, IT director at recruitment agency Robert Walters.

"Six months ago, we were seeing employers competing for the best staff with candidates commanding sign-on bonuses, stock options, huge salaries and training; but now we are seeing recruitment freezes and the search for security," she said.

Zurich CIO Joe Deragon agrees but warns there is no "secure organisation" when seeking employment.

Tony Welsh, general manager IS, QR (formerly Queensland Rail) believes employers are now demanding more from candidates as part of the belt tightening.

"In a tight market, candidates will take what comes - there is no such thing as a secure organisation these days," he said.

Globalise technology director Steven Traurig said companies are becoming more "choosy", forcing IT professionals to play the waiting game to land the job they are seeking.

"I don't think we are in a doom and gloom situation as the economy is bottoming out; I think that any candidate would be foolish to just jump into any position without careful consideration. They would find themselves looking for about three months anyway because it is a buyer's market," Traurig said.

"With the layoffs, the dot-bombs and the general dip in the economy there is a lot of re-assessment going on of budgets, directions and short to medium term strategies that directly affects hiring."

According to Taurig, while there are more candidates in the market, the best ones are always in demand, regardless of the market.

Indicators from the Robert Walters agency confirm this showing a larger pool of candidates for most IT jobs.

"They now have the luxury of being fussier about the candidates they want and are taking longer to make hiring decisions. They want to see more candidates and are being more thorough on reference checking," Papillo said.

Papillo said employers were also less tolerant of job-hopping than they had been six months ago, saying candidates and employers want more stability.

However, she said the tables may turn again as the ecomony starts to pick up again.

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