Wednesday, 10 February 2016 15:34

Contractors play key role in 'effective ICT contribution' to Vic economy: ITCRA

Contractors play key role in 'effective ICT contribution' to Vic economy:  ITCRA Image courtesy of jannoon028,

The Information Technology Contract & Recruitment Association (ITCRA) has told a Victorian Inquiry into the ‘Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work’ that contractors are the key enablers of an “effective ICT contribution” to the Victorian economy and are essential for productivity and competitive effectiveness of Victorian industry and business in general.

ITCRA CEO Julie Mills said contracting in the ICT labour market is candidate driven, and the vast majority of ICT professionals choose to work as independent contractors “because it affords them flexibility, recognition and diversity, whilst facilitating the maintenance of a current skill set in a rapidly changing profession”.

Mills said ITCRA’s submission to the Inquiry was based on the “fundamental premise” that ITCRA members are recognised as suppliers of highly skilled white collar professionals to clients in the ICT sector, and other sectors with a predominance of contractors.

“ITCRA recognises that many workers identified in the Inquiry Discussion Paper, are not in the scope of ITCRA Members’ business activity, however ITCRA acknowledges such workers require effective protections,” Mills emphasised.

According to Mills, a broader awareness and understanding of the changing world of work is evident in the Discussion Paper for the Inquiry, “which is a positive outcome but there continues to be a need, and commitment, to recognise the growing desire of business and professional individuals to frame the way they engage in work, while ensuring suitable protections for the vulnerable remain firmly in place”.

In responding to questions about the size and tenure of the contracting sector, Mills referenced the comprehensive dataset captured in the ITCRA Employment Trends Report that she said supports the consistent strength of the contracting sector in Victoria.

Mills was also asked to provide evidence of programs that support ITCRA’s Member compliance and legislative awareness.

In providing that evidence, Mills outlined the Association’s Code of Conduct, education and business tools and the more recent commitment to the modules of the People & Talent Management Standard.

She said the standard captures the key areas of safety, privacy, immigration, recruitment, talent management and quality (process and procedure) and, the broad based resource and education program ensures awareness of the trigger points for “recognising vulnerable workers and is an essential part of the commitment of becoming an ITCRA member”.

To the question of labour hire licensing or regulation in Victoria, Mills said that, “the legislative frameworks that apply to contracting and recruitment organisations are already complex and onerous”, as other speakers to the Inquiry had suggested.

“Members have indicated that licensing, in those locations where it exists, is seen as a business identification exercise but does not deliver regulation in a form that makes a difference.

On labour hire licensing and regulation, Mills cautioned that “adding another layer of legislation/regulation needs to recognise the growing desire of business and professional individuals to frame the way they engage in work”.

“Such regulation, if considered, must not create a regime for Victoria which could impact the productivity and effectiveness of Victorian industry and business in general.

“Any regulation would need to have the adaptability required to respond to the changing workplace and the demands of a mobile workforce.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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