Martin Retschko director IT&T sector Australia, told iTWire: "The sector is maintaining a very high level of employment expectations. It is the highest level since we started the survey in 2002. In January 2006 it was 16.6 percent...It is not just technical skills: we are also seeing very high demand for corporate infrastructure roles like accounting, HR etc. There is real demand for those. Account management is very key as well and we are seeing a trend towards relationship management: to keep customers by building a more sustainable relationship."
However Hudson confirmed to iTWire that the figures are not weighted to take account of employer size, so could represent a reduction of overall job opportunities. For example a 'we are reducing' response from Telstra, which is known to be retrenching thousands of staff, would be completely negated by a 'we are hiring' response from a startup VoIP player with just a handful of staff.
Retschko also acknowledged that precise definition of the sector was becoming more difficult, but said: "It encompasses all the providers, consultancies and software and hardware providers into the telecoms carriers - we tend to base it on ASIC industry codes."
He said there was great emphasis on new recruits being able to hit the ground running. " HR, financing and legal staff tend to come from fast moving organisations because they need to be able to become productive very quickly...The industry is under so much pressure to deliver results fast that there seems to be less investment in developing skills in house, bringing in graduates and putting in succession plans.
"HR is playing a strategic role in making sure the talent they have in house is used productively: making sure the right people are in the right jobs at the right time and that means putting in place better performance management structures, succession planning and providing better coaching and mentoring and better assessment up front."
He added: "A very key issue for many of my clients is retention.. and we run development seminars to identify key people that need the additional coaching, mentoring and support to become top performers and also having succesion plans for people with high potential."