IT recruitment in the Public Sector continues to be strong for project roles including Project Managers, Business Analysts and Change Managers.
We are seeing a number of major projects and programs initiated from the top of departments and agencies to reduce costs or implement a major change or system implementation. This is generating good demand for contractors.
We are also seeing a large number of technical projects taking place across government, which again is creating massive demand for contractors.
A large volume of roles are increasingly being managed via panels, which is creating ultra-specialised silos. For example, the preferred candidate for a Project Manager in health will have a career history in health rather than strong project management skills that are transferrable.
We are also seeing new roles being created as government changes the way it works. For example, Relationship Managers/Vendor Engagement Managers engaged by smaller private sector providers carrying out work on behalf of government clients.
Overall, we advise candidates to be more flexible in considering both contract and permanent opportunities if they want access to more employment choices.
Fixed-term contracts are set to continue as an alternative to full time permanency to allow a particular task or project to be completed within a specified period of time. This allows more flexibility, as there is always the option to offer an extension at the end of the contract if the need is there.
Skills in demand
As in the private sector, soft skills and culture fit play a key role in hiring decisions across IT specialities and at all levels.
Skills in demand include Change Managers given the number of restructures that are taking place in government resulting in new ways of working for staff.
Likewise, Project Managers are needed to work on major system changes and implementation projects and to help realise process improvements and efficiency gains.
However, government employers are looking for demonstrated experience in a similar role when assessing Project Manager candidates. This niche demand has created an artificial shortage of candidates when in reality there are qualified people available who can apply themselves to a range of projects.
Many public sector organisations are going to the cloud driving up demand for Office 365 implementation experience. As many government agencies are yet to make the move, there are few candidates around with hands-on experience.
Online and mobility solution experience are in demand to work on multiple, large programs of work.
Business Analysts are needed to work on integrated electronic medical records projects. Successful candidates need to be both IT specialists and procurement specialists. Not surprisingly, qualified candidates are in short supply.
Business Analysts are also needed to work on system upgrade projects across the public sector.
Candidates with skills in process analysis and process improvement are also highly sought to help government agencies and departments streamline processes and find cost and efficiency gains.
We have seen an increase in the number of organisations adopting a mobile workforce approach. To accommodate this change, more mobile applications are being developed creating the need for appropriately experienced support.
Business Intelligence skills are also in demand as more organisations incorporate self-service solutions.
Other roles in demand include Business Analytics, Technical Project Managers, Systems Administrators and Network Administrators.
Candidates in permanent roles are now open to contract roles to gain further experience. Indeed, we are seeing more career contractors in government.
In general, candidates working in government will need to become more savvy about tracking areas of demand and up-skilling accordingly if need be. For example, government is increasingly moving from Prince2 to managing software firms using the Agile project management methodology.
There is also an increased need in the digital space for candidates with hybrid skills - for example Web/Mobile App Development coupled with marketing and consumer insight experience.
For employers, attracting candidates with a range of digital skills and experience will be crucial. Government organisations are investing more in innovation and how to best engage with their customers to ensure they remain relevant as behaviour trends evolve.