JOB sentiment in Western Australia’s information communication technology sector has been buoyed by two separate reports indicating a significant improvement in the employment levels for ICT professionals.
The Olivier Internet Job Index showed that, while IT job ads in WA lagged behind the national average, this was not all bad news in the local context, with the sector outpacing job ads in other sectors in WA and showing significant growth.
Olivier Recruitment Group director Robert Olivier said sales and management roles were the big winners, but that software development and engineering roles had also increased.
“There are three times as many IT graduate jobs as there were three months ago, but that is coming from a very, very low base,” he said.
“Over the past three months, IT job ads in WA have grown by 15.05 per cent.
“That is less than the national average of 21.93 per cent.
“IT is outpacing the local market generally, which had 5.07 per cent overall jobs growth over the three months in WA.
“In November in WA, IT was 6.3 per cent of total jobs. Now, IT in WA is 6.96 per cent.”
Mr Olivier said signs of a resurgence in the IT sector were evident as far back as June 2003. He attributed the trend to current business confidence, which was, in turn, creating new jobs.
“The prognosis [in the ICT job sector] is certainly a lot better than it has been for a long time,” he said.
The Olivier Internet Job index surveyed 114,279 Internet job ads on all major commercial Internet job sites in February and analysed them by State and industry sector.
Confirming the trend, the Australian Computer Society (ACS) has also released its 2003 ICT Employment survey, which showed that full-time employment of its members grew nearly 4 percentage points, from 60.8 per cent to 64.7 per cent of respondents.
The survey showed that unemployment in the ICT sector is falling at more than double the rate of the overall labour market, but that the overall rate remains extremely high when compared with the national unemployment figure of 5.7 per cent.
The survey showed that, taking in the whole of 2003, the worst affected skill set remained programmers at 18 per cent, down from 20 per cent in 2002, and project managers, which remained at 19.6 per cent.
Finding a job was still tough for new university graduates, but the situation was improving, according to the reports.
However, there was good news for female ICT workers with a significant decline in the numbers reporting they were unemployed from 12.3 per cent to 6.3 per cent.
The survey results, which took in a range of employment-related issues, were drawn from ACS members.
ACS president Edward Mandla said the trends were good news for the ICT industry.
“There are some promising trends illustrated in this report, which support our belief that the ICT sector as a whole will continue to experience better than national rates of employment growth in the coming 12 months. However, unemployment rates remain unacceptably high,” he said.
“The dynamics of the ICT industry are currently very complex with many forces working both for and against it.
“Offshoring and an increasing ICT deficit work against it. Open source software and increased government and large corporate spending on projects work for it.”
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