Plans to take on staff remain firm among employers in the IT sector, according to recruitment company Hudson's latest quarterly employment expectations report.
The report, which polls employers about hiring intentions for the April-June quarter, found that a net 26.6 percent of employers in the IT industry will increase permanent staff levels in the coming three months.
The "net effect" is calculated by taking the percentage of employers surveyed that expect to increase staff levels during the next quarter, and subtracting the percentage who expect to decrease staff levels.
The figure of 26.6 percent represents a departure from the past several Hudson employment expectations surveys, in which IT has consistently been the most optimistic sector, scoring the highest net positive effect of all industry sectors.
This time, however, several other sectors, including professional services and manufacturing recorded higher net effects. The highest net effect of all -- 39.1 percent -- was in telecommunications, which is counted as a separate sector to IT in the survey.
The commentary accompanying the report notes that IT's figure of 26.6 percent "is 13.9 percentage points lower than that reported last quarter, when there was a surge in activity in order to engage resources and get roles signed off before the new year.
"Hiring intentions in the industry nevertheless remain amongst the strongest nationally, with many employers remaining continually on the lookout for difficult-to-find skill sets."
Brendon Carian, director of accounting, finance and ICT recruitment at Hudson says the "difficult-to-find skill sets" include Java and .Net developers, who are in demand from the private sector, rather than government employers.
"The demand is nationwide," Carian says.
CRM and Microsoft Sharepoint developers are also sought-after, he says.
"Candidates in those areas will have multiple offers on the table."
IBM Websphere skills are also in demand, and requirements for project managers and business analysts continue to be strong.
"We're seeing more industry-specific skill sets being demanded now, for example, telco-oriented business analysts and project managers, whereas previously, the demand was for BA/PM skills in general."
Demand for telecomms skills is strong in Wellington, driven by government projects such as the National Infrastructure Plan, Carian says, but is less marked in Auckland.
But while certain areas are experiencing a skills shortage, overall, it is not a candidates' market in the way 2007-08 was, he says.
"Apart from in those rare skill-sets, there are more ICT candidates in the marketplace.
"We are getting big responses for many roles, more than 100 in some cases."
Splitting the survey results regionally, in the Upper North Island, sentiment about hiring was down significantly, to a net positive 14.3 percent, while in the Lower North Island it was 30.4 percent, and in the South Island, the figure was relatively high at 46.2 percent.
The commentary on the report notes: "While this result is down 3.9 percentage points from last quarter, the industry remains one of the most confident in the region, with employers always ready to hire experienced professionals when they come to the region."
The above figures all relate to intentions to hire permanent staff; in the IT contracting/temporary staff space, hiring plans weren't so strong, with a 15.9 percentage point fall being recorded from the last survey, resulting in a net negative effect of 3 percent.