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Multi-tasking in vogue as IT sector awakens

AFTER a torrid two years, signs of a recovery in the information technology sector are starting to appear.

The principal reason for the industry’s doldrums are widely held to be the bursting of the Internet bubble followed by the global uncertainty sparked by the terrorists attacks on the US in 2001.

Hays IT Personnel consultant Jeff Grbelja said the Perth IT market had slowly strengthened its activity in the first quarter of 2003, triggered by an increase in demand for application developers and IT support staff.

“Projects are slowly ramping up and clients are taking advantage of the large candidate pool currently available to them,” he said.

“In the application development area the skills in demand would have to be Java and C++.

“Another observation is that clients are seeking more multi-skilled candidates.

“Last year was the year for softskills, which included communication, business and finance skills, and this year looks set to be multi-tasking.

“We believe this has been driven, by and large, by the move away from expensive contracting rates as industry has sought to cut excess cost from the bottom line.

“Candidates that have specialised in certain products or development languages may lack the breadth of skills required by clients in this market.”

Julia Ross Personnel State manager Susan Lawrence said her agency was seeing signs of an IT recovery, albeit a slow one.

She said IT recruitment was not a big part of the business for her office.

IT tended to be very much a word-of-mouth type of industry, according to Mr Lawrence said.

“As of late, certainly from our point of view we’ve noted that the clients we’ve serviced, in the secretarial, clerical and sales areas, have been asking for help desk people,” he told WA Business News.

“We are also getting a lot of enquiries about courses.

“Our executive and IT divisions have been up and running in terms of revenue gain for the first time in about five months.”

IBM also has started looking for staff to fill its WA-based programming centre.

In 2001 the company announced that it would be adding a further 84 staff to the 92 currently employed in the WA centre.

An IBM spokesman said that those extra places were now starting to be filled.

Besides the demand for Java and C++, programmers skilled in Microsoft.net are also likely to be in demand.

Sources within the IT industry have said that the programming language is starting to gain traction within the industry and demand for it will grow.

Part of the logic behind its rise is the fact that it integrates well with Microsoft applications.

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