Work in IT and thinking of changing jobs? Now might be a good time. A survey of hiring intentions by talent solutions company Hudson suggests more growth in technology roles than in any other industry, with 12,300 new jobs in the sector expected in 2013.
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Hudson surveyed 5900 employers across Australia and asked about their hiring intentions for the first quarter of 2013. Of those surveyed, 43.1 per cent expected to increase their staffing levels in IT, and 50.3 per cent intended to maintain current levels. Just 6.9 per cent thought numbers would reduce. For contract IT workers, the figures were slightly lower, with 21.4 per cent foreseeing an increase, 60.3 per cent maintaining current levels, and 18.3 per cent predicting a reduction. However, growth in IT jobs is expected to continue until at least 2015.
For permanent workers, technology is definitely outpacing jobs in general. On average, just 24.7 per cent of businesses intended to increase headcounts. So why is IT growing so much faster than other sectors?
"I think the ICT industry has had a pretty good year in comparison to others," Hudson client services director Martin Retschko told Lifehacker. "Looking into this year as far as hiring intentions are concerned, they've got confidence in their pipelines of work, they're talking to lots of customers about their intentions to engage and there's confidence on the back of a good year last year." Growth levels are even higher in NSW and Victoria, reflecting a bigger population base and a larger proportion of head offices for major companies.
"More broadly, technology is seen as a way to reach more customers and drive efficiency," Retschko said. "Look at retailers or banks or any other sector; they're all looking to technology providers to assist them with the big challenges. The IT industry is a real beneficiary of the economic and structural issues out there."
The widespread adoption of consumer technology is also a factor, Retschko suggested. "Consumers are demanding better online services from every provider that they interact with. The IT sector picked up on that a long time ago."
Hudson's research doesn't drill into specific career areas worth developing skills in, but some familiar themes emerge. "I know through my interactions in the industry there's growth in security and the need to harness data more effectively. There's also demand in the games industry, web apps, interactive media and also some significant R&D clusters."
Whatever your area of specialisation, the most useful thing you can add to your resume is some hard numbers demonstrating your capacity for work. "When our clients go out to hire, they're absolutely focused on people who are going to be productive quickly," Retschko said. "There are more steps in the recruitment process so they're really drilling down on capability and making sure the money that they're spending is going to be effective. We have a big emphasis on benchmarking, looking at what actually drives a top performer? What makes a good developer and how can we replicate that?"
The other key skill to develop is selling your existing experience. "It is a sales process both ways," Retschko said. "I see a lot of candidates that don't package their skills and experience very well. It sounds basic but all candidates need to promote their skills and experience and fit to an organisation in any recruitment process."
Lifehacker's weekly Salary column looks at how to maximise your career in technology.