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Information Technology

April - June 2015

We are seeing a number of employers offering contract roles to candidates and then deciding to employ them on a permanent basis. The market is very busy, especially in the finance sector, with several companies stating they have planned projects around system migrations/upgrades this year. This has created a need for candidates with skills in hardware and deployment projects.

Following the recent Queensland state election in January, the job market has slowed somewhat. Government hires have effectively stopped, as has progress on vendor driven projects. As a result, suppliers and vendors to the Queensland Government have had to reshuffle their teams in order to work on projects external to government. We expect recruitment for government projects to resume this quarter.

Typical for this time of year, we are seeing greater focus on permanent hires across the development space as Managers look to secure long term staff. This is normally followed by a rise in contract requirements in order to meet end of financial year project deadlines.

The trend within the Queensland private sector is to hire full-time employees, with contractors engaged predominantly for project work and to fulfill peak business workloads. Technical tests have become very common during the interview process, and in terms of qualifications, Microsoft certifications or commensurate tertiary experience is in demand.

Candidates who are based locally in the state are preferred by employers due to urgent project requirements and their desire to meet potential employees face-to-face. We are continuing to see a focus on soft skills, with customer service and strong communication skills weighted quite heavily for lower level infrastructure support roles.

Whilst technical competence and proficiency across up-to-date technologies remains important, individuals with a proven drive and tenacity and the ability to empathise with users takes precedence in many work environments.

Public Sector employers in Queensland are taking longer to recruit as they don't have a huge amount of confidence in the market. Timelines are often pushed out and what was planned to be a two week turnaround becomes four weeks or longer. In the public sector, there has been a recent push towards fixed-term engagements, whereas in the past their workforce was largely contract based. Of course, this could all change again with the recent change in the State Government.

Information Security Experts who have experience with penetration testing are being snapped up, previously it was mostly the financial sector that focused on security but other industries have realised that there is an increasing necessity to protect themselves and their data from external threats.

As more clients move towards the cloud, Storage Engineers are needed to recommend a cloud-based storage solution and oversee its installation. Candidates with experience with cloud technologies are in demand as there has been a bug push towards Office 365 and Amazon AWS within the Brisbane market.

In South Australia we are seeing an increase in business confidence, underpinned by a higher volume of permanent recruitment. We are also seeing a greater demand for contract roles from large programs of work which should continue for the next 18 months.

Two of Tasmania's largest government-owned enterprises are going through the process of in sourcing their IT operations which has resulted in staffing requirements across the board from Technical Support staff through to Infrastructure Engineers. Also, Hydro Tasmania is implementing SAP systems and this has created a large demand for expertise with SAP in both the business analysis and development space.

Hiring intentions have increased in Western Australia with slightly more permanent and contract roles now available than in the previous quarter. Vacancies are leaning more towards the contract side at present. Budgets are still tight in both the public and private sectors though, so hourly rates and salaries are not as lucrative as they were. Sentiment has increased but there are still many candidates on the market due to the mining industry being relatively flat over the last 18 months.

Development

Front end Developers are currently highly sought after for full-time roles as businesses are seeing the importance of up-to-date online accessibility for customers, particularly on mobile devices. Demand is strongest for candidates with IOS and Android Native development skills, while those with Xamarin, Bootstrap and HTML5 experience are also sought after. For software and web development using .NET, we are starting to see a shift towards using REST and ASP.NET WebAPI 2 to better service mobile platforms. We are also seeing a shift away from requirements for SharePoint.

With the increase in focus on Big Data, the Business Intelligence Developers who have a background in analytics and can devise business solutions are becoming more important.

Infrastructure

Cloud specialists are also highly sought after. As companies move towards Cloud infrastructure, organisations are looking for candidates who have experience with the relevant technologies such as Office 365, Azure and in particular AWS. Those with skills in virtualisation tools such as Hyper-V and Citrix are also in demand.

Quality Security Engineers are rarely available and employers are offering highly competitive salaries to retain them. When these Engineers do come on to the market they are snapped up very quickly by system integrators. With most businesses pushing to hold their data in a data community, it’s vital to ensure the correct measures are in place.

With the continued emergence of Citrix in the Perth market, experienced Citrix Engineers with core Microsoft infrastructure and Citrix product skills are in demand. They are needed predominantly for the managed services sector to support new clients adopting this form of desktop/ application virtualisation technology.

Cisco Engineers continue to be in high demand. Technical leadership skills in the Cisco wireless networking space are sought after, specifically in large and complex environments. As a result of expanding local health care facilities, Real-Time Location System (RTLS) experience is needed to facilitate the tracking of medical equipment on newly constructed premises.

Business

Project Managers with health industry experience are needed to work on current projects in the healthcare industry. PMs with regulatory reporting experience are also needed in the banking sector in response to strong super and APRA based reporting. And delivery focused, hands-on Project Managers who can dive deep when required to get a project over the line are valued highly.

Mid to senior level Business Analysts with particular domain experience continue to be in demand. Agile experience is especially sought for implementation projects. The majority of large IT houses in Western Australia tend to corner the market for these BAs so there are not many available for contract work.

Data Analysts are also in strong demand. Data warehousing specialists with SSIS, SSRS and SSAS are sought as employers are recognising the value of their data.

In terms of candidate trends, applicants are looking for job security in Brisbane due to the government and large companies switching to off shoring their infrastructure. More and more candidates are moving away from the contract market and looking to secure permanent positions, even if they have been habitual contractors for most of their career.

Having said that, there is still a good level of flexibility from candidates and many are still willing to consider short-term contracts. Some are also open to relocating inter-state to secure contract roles.

IT workers are more actively up-skilling on their in areas such as Microsoft, ITIL and networking certifications, and are more inclined to take a lower salary if a role promises career progression.

 

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