Candle: ICT skills shortage back


Recruitment firm Candle ICT (a division of Clarius) today claimed Australia’s ICT industry was on the brink of again suffering skills shortages, returning to health after a slump in jobs in 2009.

Candle chief executive David Stewart said December had been one of the busiest end of year periods on record.

“It’s been a tough 12 months but ICT recruitment activity in the final weeks of 2009 was unexpectedly hectic and has barely paused since,” Stewart said. “Businesses, particularly in financial services and telecommunications, are now leaning towards permanent recruitment and away from contracting roles as they take a more confident stance for the year ahead.”

A number of Australian firms are known to be bulking up. For example, the newly formed National Broadband Network Company has hired a number of senior telecommunications staff over the past few months and has a dozen roles currently on offer.

Google Australia is looking for around 40 new staff to fill out its new office in the waterfront Sydney suburb of Pyrmont.

According to Clarius, the NSW, Victorian and Canberran markets all saw recent lifts in hiring, while even South Australia had been strong, “thanks to national funding initiatives that have helped boost local spending”. Queensland had a late flurry of activity in December, according to Clarius, while Western Australia remained quiet but was expected to pick up.

One trend within government over the past year has been a gradual migration to using in-house staff rather than contractors, due in part to the recommendations of Sir Peter Gershon into how information technology is delivered in the Federal Government. However, Victorian IT shared services agency CenITex is also attempting to convert many of its contractual staff into permanent public servants.

Clarius’ skills index — put together by KPMG Econtech — appeared to show that chefs, wood- and metalworkers, building engineering professionals and hairdressers were the most in-demand professions, with IT staff coming into the rankings at number 10, after being left out of the top 10 in the past six months.