Recruitment Market Segment LS
Recruitment Market Segment RS
Monday, 08 December 2014 02:22

Scarcity of talent to fill ICT jobs lengthens recruiting time Featured

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It’s becoming increasingly difficult for employers to find appropriately qualified ICT professionals to fill available jobs, with recruiters struggling to source talented candidates to fill vacant roles. 

According to the latest survey of the ICT job market by the Information Technology Contract and Recruitment Association (ITCRA), the time to place an ICT candidate in a role across Australia, except the ACT, has shifted dramatically in the last two months.

It has taken ICT recruiters almost twice as long to fill roles in October compared to previous months, according to ITCRA. Previously it took between five to 10 days to fill roles, whereas the latest data showed recruiters took 13 to 25 days.

IRCA CEO Julie Mills said October appears to have been a busy time for the industry and “the market is becoming increasingly more competitive”.

Mills said, however, that the ACT market continues to behave differently from the rest of the country, which provides ongoing challenges.

“Recruiters have always worked harder to source talented candidates in the ACT, with it now taking an average of 40 days to fill roles - up from 34 days in previous reports.

“Our data shows a particularly tough story for ACT recruiters when it comes to permanent placements, which can take 108 days to fill compared to 38 days for Sydney.

“Yet the ACT market is not insignificant as it has over one fifth (23%) of permanent advertised ICT roles this month. Federal Government departments underpin the demand for the ACT’s ICT skills but unfortunately this is not matched by a strong local supply of available talent that is seeking work.

“Good news for the talent but not so great for those seeking employees to deliver on projects!”

The state breakdown showing the time it took in October for recruiters to fill roles is:

•    South Australia had the biggest jump from average of 9 to 25 days

•    New South Wales moved from 6 to 17 days

•    Victoria moved from 7 to 16 days

•    Western Australia 7 to 13 days

•    Queensland 9 to 20 days, and

•    ACT moved from 35 to 40 days.

According to Mills, ITCRA’s data reinforces the transition of the Australian economy away from mining to services.

“Mining has moved out of the top five industries hiring ICT talent, with manufacturing moving into fourth place followed by health care and social assistance.”

Mills said that with Australia’s economy becoming increasingly service-oriented, and with the right people harder to find, “this opens up questions of how we will source new or hidden talent where the demand exists. Currently Australia has an underutilisation rate of 14.4% compared to New Zealand’s 2.5%”.

“The underutilised workforce comprises people who are mature aged, have a disability, retrenched and unable to find employment, or are parents seeking to return to work. Tapping into this workforce by engaging with them to re–assess their qualifications and competencies and pro-actively removing barriers will continue to be part of a national economic discussion.”

The ITCRA ICT Job Market Report - compiled from SkillsMatch and Burning Glass data - also found that the top advertised roles, across Australia and New Zealand, have not changed significantly with Java Software Developer, Systems Engineer and Solutions Architect regularly in the top five.

“In comparing the two countries the biggest difference was for .Net Developers. In New Zealand they were the most in demand at 16.6% of the top ten roles, whereas in Australia .Net Developer roles were in sixth position at 9.5%,” Mills said.

The ITCRA survey also shows that desired education levels and years of experience continued to be the same as previous surveys across Australia and New Zealand, with a sustained preference for applicants with:

•    Bachelors/Honours Degree (69% in Australia, 75% in New Zealand) and,

•    One to three years experience (48% in Australia, 47% New Zealand), or

•    Four to seven years experience (40% in Australia, 42% New Zealand).

Less than a quarter of roles (14% in Australia, 13% in New Zealand) requested seven years or more experience, which Mills says is in direct contrast to other professional sectors which often have 10-plus years as an expectation.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. 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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