ICT Trends: Business Confidence
Demand for IT Professionals
A recent Candle Market Update reports a positive business sentiment in New Zealand that is helping reverse the off-shore flow of IT talent with Kiwi professionals returning home from Australia, the USA and the UK. Those returning from Australia may be largely influenced by a new report showing that Australia now has a large and increasing oversupply of ICT professionals, not a skills shortage as widely publicized over recent years.
The New Zealand demand for IT professionals is fuelled in part by the growth in exports of computer and information services and by the government's Wellington departments of Customs and Ministry of Social Development requirements for .Net developers, C#, and Java developers.
The most sought after skills here in the next 12 months will be those supporting the growth of software- and web-based software companies. These include skills in C# and Java Script front-end IOS and UX, and web-based development and design tools. According to the report ICT professionals are holding out for well-paid contract roles, rather than take permanent roles, as the local software development sector breaks into new international markets.
However, the latest Seek ICT job advert numbers confirm a long established reality that the 80:20 rule continues to apply to the ratio of full time ICT jobs over the Contract/Temp category, both nationally and in Wellington this month (Fig.1).
Fig.1 Wellington Seek ICT Job Adverts: Ratio of Full Time to Contract/Temp
Unfortunately, the positive business sentiment is not backed up in terms of the number of Seek ICT job adverts for this month, with a drop of 16 per cent on April's figure of 2483, and 8 per cent down on May 2013 (Fig.2 below). This could be due to a dip in business confidence, possibly as a result of 2014 being an election year, although there may be many reasons for the sudden drop in Seek ICT advertised jobs. Perhaps the unexpected return of New Zealanders from Australia, the United Kingdom and the USA, with the requisite ICT knowledge, skills and experience are taking up many of the available positions.
2014 Budget Announcement
A $198.6 million boost for tertiary education and research, according to Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce, continues a focus on increasing funding for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects and includes $28.6 million for ICT training initiatives. Given the predicted continuing growth in technology-related industries and businesses, the additional funding is a welcome increase that could/should go some way to addressing the foreseeable demand for ICT skilled and qualified graduates.
Fig.2 Seek ICT Job Adverts Monthly Trends 2010 -2014 (May)
While Trademe IT job adverts (fig.3) are down 13 per cent on last month, reflecting a similar decline in Seek ICT job adverts, they continue to trend ahead of this time last year, up 1.3 per cent.
Fig.3 Seek ICT & Trademe IT Job Advert Trends to May 2014
The monthly Seek ICT job adverts for May (fig.4) have decreased for all regions with Wellington down 30 per cent on last month. Auckland had the smallest decrease. (Refer to figure 5 for specific numbers).
Fig.4 Seek ICT Job Advert Trends Monthly Change for May 2014
Figure 5 provides a detailed record of the Seek ICT job advert trends by region to May 2014.
Fig.5 Seek ICT Job Advert Monthly Trends to May 2014
This month's drop in Seek ICT job adverts may just be an aberration that defies a specific explanation. Overall it is clear that NZ's ICT industry is thriving. It will continue to fuel a demand for people with the necessary skills and knowledge and to provide opportunities for a financially rewarding career.
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