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ICT Trends – Contrasts in Demand

Garry Roberton, Guest Post. 24 March 2016, 2:39 pm

National and International Disparities

A quick glance at this month's Seek ICT job advert figures (Fig.1) indicates that the usual upward trend for this time of the year is currently tracking below the same period for 2015. And in the NZ Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) jobs online monthly report for February 2016, the all vacancies index fell by 0.5 percent with IT decreasing by 0.2 percent. Over the year to February, job vacancies increased in all of the industry groups, up 4.7 percent, while IT vacancies fell by 7.0 per cent. This slight trough in the current ICT job adverts market needs to be viewed in a global context, which reveals a robustly growing ICT industry where demand for skills continues to outstrip supply.   


According to the latest data from Seek on the Australian IT market, in an article by Recruitment International, "The information & communications technology (ICT) industry remains strong nationwide, experiencing 10% year-on-year growth to February 2016". Strong year-on-year growth in demand for IT security professionals (Refer Table 1) is attributed to a significant increase in the way governments, businesses and people rely on mobility and sophisticated technology, as well as the rapid expansion of cloud computing. As a result, prevention of cybercrime is one of the fastest growing segments of today's ICT industry.

Australia Seek New ICT Job Ads

Top 10

Percentage Increase

Year to February 2016

NZ Current Seek ICT Job Ads

March 2016




Technical Writing



Product Management & Development



Engineering - Software & Hardware






Team Leaders



Computer Operators



Help Desk & IT Support



Programme & Project Management






Table 1 Comparison of Seek Australia top 10 ICT job ads growth with current Seek NZ demand

It is interesting to note in the table that demand for developer/programmers, based on Australia's list of top 10 new ICT job ads, still dominates the NZ ICT job market, with demand for software/hardware engineers a strong, but distant second.

Staying with Australia the ACS (Australian Computer Society) recently published an article with the headline "Australia must reskill for digital jobs". This was one of the main findings, according to Australia's Digital Pulse report by the ACS and Deloitte Access Economics, which sought a "multifaceted" approach to tackle an expected digital skills shortage by 2020. The report estimates Australia's ICT workforce grew by 23,000 in the past year. A majority of these jobs were filled with a net 19,600 international workers, suggesting as few as 3000 new ICT roles were satisfied domestically. The ACS article, while referring to an image problem, did not specifically mention the shortage of females employed in the industry, which is still a vexing global issue. 

USA - Promoting Gender Diversity

ComputerWorld (USA) has addressed this issue in a recent article featuring the headline "5 ways to attract and retain female technologists". A publicly shared spreadsheet, created by a female software engineer at Pinterest tracking women who are specifically writing or architecting software, indicates that only about 19% are female across the 84 companies reported on. The different skill sets and operating styles that men and women contribute are considered essential for the success of technology-driven businesses.

LinkedIn has initiated a WIT (Women in Technology) executive team to promote gender diversity by sponsoring STEM programs and coaching, among other initiatives. This has seen a small increase in the number of females in technical roles, which according to Lockheimer, a software engineer at LinkedIn, is heading in the right direction.

Note that NZTech Women provides a collaborative voice for New Zealand's women in the technology sector encouraging women of all ages and backgrounds to consider employment in the field. 

Current Job Adverts

The total number of Seek ICT Job adverts for March 2016 is 2065, which is down slightly on March 2015 (5 percent) (Fig.1) and represents a small increase of 8 percent on last month's figure of 1915. This increase is tracking the usual trend for this time of the year.


 trends 1 ICT job ads.png

Fig.1 Seek ICT Job Adverts Monthly Trends 2010 - 2016 (March)


The number of Trademe IT job adverts for March (Fig.2) is down 23.6 percent on the same time last year and represents a slight increase of 2 percent on last month.


trends 2 ICT and TradeMe.png

Fig.2 Seek ICT & Trademe IT Job Advert Trends to March 2016

Figure 3 illustrates the usual upward trend in Seek ICT job adverts for this time of the year although the job adverts for Auckland, somewhat unusually, have bucked the trend, down 1 percent. Could this be partly as a result of current migration trends?


 trends 3 ICT job ads.png

Fig.3 Seek ICT Job Advert Trends Monthly Change for Feb - March 2016


Figure 4 provides a detailed record of the Seek ICT job advert trends by region for the year to date.

 trends 4 Monthly.png

Fig.4 Seek ICT Job Advert Monthly Trends to March 2016


It is too early in the year to draw any conclusions from the lower numbers of Seek ICT job ads trending over the first three months, down 7 percent for the year to February 2016. In contrast, according to the latest data from Seek, the Australian IT market has experienced 10 percent year-on-year growth to February this year. Ominously for the Australian IT industry, it has had to rely on international workers to fill the majority of the 23,000 new ICT roles, due to a continuing shortage of local talent. Addressing gender diversity could provide a strategy that helps to address this shortage.

Meanwhile, a number of IT industries and organisations in the USA are attempting to address the issue of gender diversity by encouraging women of all ages and ethnicities to consider employment in the technology field. The different skills sets and operating styles of men and women are considered essential for the success of technology-driven businesses. To date the strategy has enjoyed limited success.

Here in NZ the shortage of computing professionals is exacerbated by a lack of women in the sector. A briefing paper released by NZTech in July 2015 provides an overview of the many initiatives available within the technology sector ecosystem. It's an interesting and worthwhile read.



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