Australia’s information technology sector remains highly active, especially for contract roles.
In New South Wales the strength of the contract market has led to candidates holding out for above market rates. The banking sector in particular is willing to pay a premium for the right candidate. This has had an effect on the flow of good candidates for permanent roles.
Regulatory programs of work are expected to keep the market buoyant this quarter and employers remain focused on finding candidates with strong compliance and regulatory reform experience. Tighter controls on bank reporting and investment advice are being enforced by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) and this will continue to put pressure on the big 4 banks to comply.
Many organisations are adopting fixed-term contract agreements as these arrangements minimise contractor costs and allow them to designate time frames that can range from three months to more than three years.
Companies are demanding more from candidates and those who can learn, adapt and be flexible will succeed. There is also a large pool of mature candidates in the market who can offer value to employers with their leadership, reliability and technical skills.
In the public sector in New South Wales there has been a major push towards the cross-skilling of middle to senior IT infrastructure candidates. Gone are the days where a Systems Administrator stays with the system/server side and the Network Engineer stays on networks. Middle to senior IT infrastructure candidates should have a particular skill-set as a Systems Administrator, System Engineer or Network Engineer, but they also need to be able to competently deal with other IT infrastructure functions.
In Victoria demand continues to increase for professionals within project services as organisations move once again towards investment in the sector. As the business analysis, project management and change management practices of large corporate organisations across all industries mature, there continues to be demand for fixed-term contractors and permanent hires. Employers are looking to retain key intellectual property in-house, lift competency levels and reduce costs.
The public sector in Victoria has yet to see any new opportunities across project services job functions following the change of government, but we expect this to come in the next 12 months as departments are merged. Within this sector we continue to see a focus on
increasing efficiency and decreasing operating costs.
In Western Australia the majority of employers are looking for contractors and fixed-term employees ahead of permanent appointments. The market is more buoyant in the areas of development and testing than in infrastructure and support. Business Analysts are also in demand as businesses look to streamline and become more efficient.
In Tasmania we are also seeing an increase in the use of contractors. The public sector has been trying to reduce headcount wherever possible as there are still many IT projects in progress and costs need to be managed.
Queensland is looking for good business leaders with strong generic business skills rather than technologists that are ill suited to leadership roles.
Meanwhile in South Australia we are seeing several large departments undergo restructuring within the State Government.
We are also seeing an increased demand for PHP Developers as new start up organisations enter the online sales space in retail, especially organisations utilising technologies such as Magento, Drupal and Zen Cart.
In recent months employers have been asking for ‘Full Stack Developers’ in the ASP.NET space. They want skilled candidates who can update or enhance client facing sites as well as back end servers. Some companies are in the process of implementing AWS in the Java space, seeking to improve reliability, costs and manage scalability better. There is a big push for Developers to be proponents of TDD and Continuous Integration in this space.
More companies are either considering or are in the process of setting up DevOps teams that can forge better collaboration and integration between software developers and IT operations with the aim of producing software and IT services more rapidly. Therefore demand for specialists in this area is on the rise.
Specialist roles in Automation and Performance testing are becoming key areas for companies to recruit in. Demand is particularly strong for candidates who have experience with Agile/BDD/TDD.
Cloud specialists are sought as companies move towards Cloud infrastructure. Organisations are looking for candidates who have experience with the relevant technologies such as Office 365, Azure or AWS. Those with skills in virtualisation tools such as Hyper-V and Citrix are also in demand.
Candidates with experience with VMWare, VSphere and other Virtualisation Tools are increasingly sought due to a focus on increased virtualisation and a move towards the Cloud.
Desktop Support and broader IT Infrastructure candidates are in demand. These roles are consistently overlooked by candidates, but essential for employers and represent a gap in thinking between the two.
Citrix XenApp experience is in demand in the NSW public sector as it is an underlying system. Former private sector employees with XenApp experience are highly employable.
There continues to be significant investment across the board in digital projects as organisations look for competitive advantage by driving customers to low cost self serve channels and redeveloping their online presence.
Within this space Business Analysts, Project Managers and Change Managers with strong agile skills are in particular demand and soft skills are paramount in hiring decisions.
In addition, Business Analysts continue to be highly sought after as companies look to gain a deeper understanding of their business processes in order to ensure a project is being scoped, mapped and documented correctly, resulting in the successful delivery of a project. We expect the demand for Business Analysts to remain high across both the public and commercial sectors as organisations continue to seek process improvement efficiencies and upgrade systems.
As organisations look to upgrade and integrate current applications and systems, we have seen a large demand for Solutions Architects to focus on understanding both business requirements and an organisation’s technical environment and capabilities. Solution Architects are integral to ensuring integration of delivery aspects during all phases of the proposed solution, therefore giving organisations a greater success rate of project delivery.
With the increased focus on business efficiencies and process re-engineering, organisations have uncovered a variety of projects requiring a centralised schedule and governance framework. This has resulted in the increased push for Program Managers.
We're still seeing a steady demand for Microsoft SQL Server Business Intelligence skills, especially in government but also in the commercial space. This is due to a continued need for improved business information and data.
Data Warehouse/Data Analysts are needed too. Again, Microsoft SQL Server DW skills are in demand in both the government and commercial space. This is due to an increased push toward Big Data.
Finally, in both the government and commercial sectors SharePoint upgrades and unpacking additional features and functionality are becoming more popular in SA. Demand is mostly for contract SharePoint experts.