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IT industry needs an image overhaul

  • 07 June, 2006 13:43

<p>Diversiti report points to need for change if IT is to build and retain local talent pool</p>
<p>Sydney Australia, 6 June 2006 – The IT industry is in need of an image overhaul over the next 12 months if it is to attract smart young school leavers to a career in technology.</p>
<p>This is according to a report by Diversiti, the recruitment arm of Accenture, released at a launch today in Sydney with a video address by the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan. The Diversiti IT Hiring Influence Report 2006 includes findings that point to a challenging and tightening local IT employment market.</p>
<p>The report is endorsed by Queensland University of Technology, Accenture and CompTIA, an international body that represents the interests of the technology community.</p>
<p>“Technology is an enabler across all areas of business and the public sector, making high tech careers critical to Australia and a strong choice of profession,” said Ms Deborah Howard, Managing Director, Diversiti. “Despite this, we still see employers losing sleep over attracting and retaining talent. The question has to be asked: why?</p>
<p>“Females, half of our population, are grossly under-represented in the industry. Combine this with the finding that nearly half of respondents cite competition from other professions as a factor that will contribute to hiring difficulty and it’s obvious that IT has an ongoing image problem that needs addressing.”</p>
<p>More than half of respondents (56 per cent) work in organisations where less than 30 per cent of their total IT hires in the past 12 months were female. 21 per cent of respondents claimed that females made up less than 10 per cent of their hires in the same period.</p>
<p>“There is a real challenge for all employers – but particularly those working in the ICT sector – to encourage women and young people into their professions,” Senator Coonan said.</p>
<p>“The Australian Government recognised the challenges facing the ICT sector in attracting and retaining talented young professionals when we held the partICipaTion summit in Sydney last year.</p>
<p>“Diversiti’s work in looking at how the ICT industry can better market itself to potential employees is very welcome.”</p>
<p>Casting the industry in a better light</p>
<p>Ms Howard commented, “IT is a dynamic and challenging profession, but more needs to be done to convey this to our bright undergraduates contemplating which direction their studies and careers will head.”</p>
<p>A review of current sourcing strategies and training programs is needed to address concerns expressed about recruiting the right skill set and retaining talent as top staffing challenges in the next 12 months (highlighted as concerns by 69 and 63 per cent of respondents respectively).</p>
<p>Offshoring will have the greatest impact on software development and programming (according to 78 per cent of respondents), as well as call centre and technical support (70 per cent of respondents), in the coming 12 months.</p>
<p>“Offshoring is a contentious issue, but the fact is we’re in a global market and the employment landscape is changing,” said Ms Howard. “The jobs market locally is strong, but people in affected areas will need to concentrate their training and development elsewhere to remain competitive.</p>
<p>“Employers that practice offshoring need to play their part by ensuring staff are given opportunities to diversify skill sets and remain relevant in the market.”</p>
<p>When asked to nominate their most pressing IT staffing challenges over the next 12 months, IT employment decision-makers nominated retaining talent (69 per cent), recruiting the right skill set (63 per cent) and a shortage of candidates (61 per cent).</p>
<p>Recommendations for the IT industry</p>
<p>Recommendations made by Diversiti to address these concerns are:</p>
<p> Offering IT students early employment deals such as internships, graduate programs or payment of course fees</p>
<p> Focusing on improving IT teaching and careers advice at a secondary education level</p>
<p> Undertaking speaker programs, whereby school alumni speak on their positive and unique experiences in IT</p>
<p> Increasing attention given to TAFE graduates, by potentially taking on more TAFE graduates and providing specialised, on-the-job training. The actual university attended to gain an IT degree was nominated as having the least influence on graduate hiring decisions, emphasising the importance of this recommendation</p>
<p> Looking at alternative sources of potential talent – working mothers, older workers, other professionals and people with a disability</p>
<p>“By adopting these recommendations, employers can widen their net and increase their chances of creating teams of IT staff with the skills required,” commented Ms Howard. “81 per cent of respondents cited work experience as having a high influence on their hiring decision. Communication skills and team player attributes also rank highly.</p>
<p>“By taking on-board graduates and professionals from other walks of life, and providing specialised training, the industry can foster talent with the experience we’ll need in the coming years. IT is not a boring career choice and it shouldn’t be a boys’ club. We need to break these stereotypes if we want our talent pool to flourish.”</p>
<p>The survey conducted as research for the Diversiti IT Hiring Influence Report targeted Australian employers who currently hire candidates across all IT functions. 365 Australian employers representing CIOs, IT Managers and HR Managers ranging from small, medium and large businesses in all industry sectors took part in the research for the Diversiti IT Hiring Influence Report.</p>
<p>To speak with Deborah Howard, Managing Director of Diversiti or to request a copy of the Diversiti IT Hiring Influence Report 2006 please contact:</p>
<p>Gerard Mansour or Rachael Hoy
Red Agency:
(612) 9955 7877
gerard.mansour@redagency.com.au
rachael.hoy@redagency.com.au</p>
<p>About Diversiti Diversiti is an Australian leader in the provision of quality permanent and contract IT recruitment and workforce management solutions. Since its inception in 1988 Diversiti has recruited IT specialists and non-IT professionals for clients across a broad range of industries including financial services and insurance, telecommunications and technology, government, products, manufacturing and resources. Diversiti is part of Accenture, the world’s leading management consulting and technology services company. To find out more please visit http://www.diversiti.com.au.</p>

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