Competition Getting Tougher For IT Jobs

Competition Getting Tougher For IT Jobs

Working in IT and thinking about changing jobs? Chances are you’ll find it a bit tougher to get a new gig than a year ago — but it could help if you’re good at testing or SQL.

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The latest SkillsMatch Dashboard report from the Information Technology Contract and Recruitment Association (ITCRA) suggests that for each IT job advertised in the first quarter of 2011, an average of eight suitable candidates was found. Throughout 2011, the average figure was somewhat lower at six candidates. That means employers have increased choice, which could make switching jobs or getting a salary increase more difficult. It certainly seems to be slowing the process: the average time to fill a vacancy is now 25 days,

There seems to be a better match between the skills available in the market and those which employers actually want. As ITCRA CEO Julie Mills explained in the announcement release:

ITCRA’s SkillsMatch Dashboard has consistently shown a mismatch between the skills required by employers and those offered by candidates. For example, in the first quarter of 2011, we saw a big gap, with only two of the top 10 skills in demand being available. However, in the first quarter of 2012 the top five skills requested by employers – help desk/support; project management; business analysis; engineering and networking – were among the top 10 skills offered by candidates

Skills where demand consistently isn’t being met include testing, infrastructure, SAP, SQL and 3G modelling systems. If you’re looking to train, those seem like obvious areas, though they’re not topics that can necessarily be mastered rapidly.

Another evident trend is a rise in contract roles, with 82 per cent of vacancies in the first quarter being filled this way. Given ITCRA’s own emphasis on recruitment (more contract placements mean more income), that’s not entirely surprising, but it does emphasise that the notion of a job for life has well and truly left the IT department.

Evolve is a weekly column at Lifehacker looking at trends and technologies IT workers need to know about to stay employed and improve their careers.


  • I have been looking for work since Nov 2011. I have 20+ years in IT and a degree. It is pretty tough out there right now. Any employers out there ? 🙂 I sm keen to chat to you ….

    • Joe, I advise you to stick with the major cities. More IT work in a city means that if something happens at your current employer, you’re less likely to be looking at an expensive move to get re-employed. Plus, the pay is generally better as well. Good luck!

  • It is pretty dry out there. I have a few friends in IT recruitment and they are really struggling to find positions vacant. They have lots of people bugging them for jobs, but not enough freeing up. IT employment has definitely not picked up much since the GFC. The problem is that large amounts of IT staff (as well as other sectors) lost jobs due to redundancies or companies going under and people still in work are clinging bitterly to their jobs. Until people start risking a move, there will be no growth the churn of jobs.

  • I work for a large IT Integrator and we are ALWAYS looking for qualified engineers in the Security space (in VIC). I think the problem is finding candidates with the niche product qualifications/experience, as we simply don’t have time to train Uni grads or generalists (eg CCNP’s). It’s chicken before the egg – we sell the service first to ensure revenue, and then need to rapidly ramp up with qualified engineers (that’s simplistic, but you get the idea).

  • Most corporations are cutting back at the moment quite a lot – In part fears of another GFC comeback, and also in part stemming fairly strong growth post-GFC as well. It’ll pick up again in time, but it’s part of an Ebb and Flow cycle.

    Uncertainty with what our government is doing is there as well.

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