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Surveys reinforce positive IT trend

LATEST job figures show WA has continued to outperform other parts of the country in information technology and telecommunications jobs growth.

The Olivier Internet Job Index showed that in percentage terms WA had continued to climb steadily over the three months to April, bucking the national trend in overall jobs growth, which fell during the period and outperformed the IT&T jobs growth in other States.

Olivier Recruitment Group director Robert Olivier said software development and engineering continued to lead the trend, followed by desktop support; management and sales; network communications; and security.

Mr Olivier said the number of IT&T job adverts had increased 21.2 per cent in the past two months, albeit coming from a low base, and outperformed other sectors in WA’s jobs market.

Further, the WA IT job sector has continued to outperform IT sectors in other States.

“IT is only up 2.4 per cent for the market as a whole, so WA is a standout performer,” Mr Olivier said.

“In February, IT represented 7 per cent of total jobs [in WA] and now it represents 8.2 per cent, so it continues to outperform the rest of the market [in WA].”

“That would be stronger than the national figure, so it is one of the better performing States.”

The overall Olivier Internet Job Index fell 6.36 per cent over all (seasonally adjusted) in April, which followed steadying growth during March and a record number of job ads in February.

However, the national IT&T market experienced growth of 1.04 per cent in the period to April with jobs in software development and engineering the clear winners.

Mr Olivier said there had been 75.71 per cent growth in the national IT&T sector over 12 months with 5,885 job advertisements in April 2003 almost doubling to 10,340 job advertisements in April 2004.

Mr Olivier said the number of job advertisements tended to fall during the school holidays and this month’s recruitment figures were also affected by the Easter and Anzac day public holidays.

“There are a couple of regular peaks in the job change seasons: after the start of the financial year and after the start of the calendar year,” he said.

“We’re at a traditional low staff turnover point in mid cycle now.

“You could call it a trough between waves, rather than a dropping tide, based on our evidence so far.”

Mr Olivier said the prognosis for the sector was good.

“Within the sector, the only threat to the job market at the moment is the Federal election, which can put a bit of uncertainty in the market as business tends to put off certain decisions,” he said.

“The only sector we have grave concerns for is the building and construction sector.”

Recruitment statistics for the IT sector have continued to climb on the back of predictions of big IT spends in 2004.

Mr Olivier said signs of a resurgent IT sector were evident as early as last June. He attributed the trend to current business confidence, which was, in turn, creating new jobs.

Confirming the trend earlier this year was the Australian Computer Society’s 2003 ICT Employment survey, which showed full-time employment of its members grew nearly 4 percentage points last year, from 60.8 per cent to 64.7 per cent of respondents.

The survey shows unemployment in the ICT sector is falling at more than double the rate of the overall labour market but the overall rate remains extremely high when compared with the national unemployment figure of 5.7 per cent.

University graduates are still finding it tough to land a job but the reports show the situation is improving.

The ACS survey results, which took in a range of employment-related issues, were drawn from ACS members.

The Olivier Internet Job index surveyed 110,714 Internet job ads on all major commercial Internet job sites in April and analysed them by State and industry sector.

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