Second quarter sees strong demand for IT staff: survey

Steady hiring continues into second half of year, recruiter says

Demand for permanent IT staff was strong during the second quarter of the year, from April to June, and continues to be high into the third quarter, says Tom Derbyshire, manager of recruitment firm Robert Walters' IT division in Auckland.

"There is a good amount of permanent candidates, and there has been since the beginning of the year," Derbyshire says.

The situation is a flow-on from last year, when many permanent candidates changed jobs after the recession conditions of 2009.

"Many have moved on and there's a need to replace them."

Demand is particularly high in the insurance and financial services sectors, which were the first to recover from the recession, he says.

Robert Walters is getting a steady stream of work from the large global IT vendors and there is also demand from the telco and education sectors, he says.

Demand for software developers remains strong, with J2EE, Spring and Hibernate skills particularly sought-after.

The requirements for permanent staff are set to continue, he says, and demand for contract staff, which has so far been lower than for fulltime employees, is starting to ramp up again.

"The contracting market is starting to pick up, as employers can't always find permanent staff."

There is emerging demand for SAP contractors, database administrators and test analysts, Derbyshire says.

The commentary on Robert Walters' second-quarter market update, released last month, notes: "We noticed salaries have remained quite steady, with many clients becoming more specific on the type of candidates they are looking for.

"This has translated into shorter salary bandings and lengthy, more targeted permanent recruitment processes."

Unlike in Auckland, the Wellington IT recruitment scene is dominated by requirements for contractors, says Robert Walters Wellington IT division manager Jonathan Hay.

"In Wellington, 80 percent of our work is with the public sector and there is demand for efficiencies driven from capital expenditure, which requires fixed-term hourly rates assisting with ICT inputs and efficiency."

The second quarter of 2011 saw a 40 percent increase in the number of IT roles available in Wellington compared to the same quarter last year, Hay says; but that figure is coming off a low base in 2010, which was still quiet in the second quarter, he says.

"A 40 percent increase might sound like we're really busy, but it's not like 2006-07," he says.

Nonetheless, many contract roles are in high demand, especially business analysts.

Technical business analysts, with telco and network focus, are especially sought-after, he says, and requirements for Microsoft development skills are also high.

"For every Java opportunity, we have two or three .Net ones."

The demand for contractors has increased further since the second quarter ended, he says, with demand for contract project managers increasing notably this month.

Enterprise and solution architects are also in demand, and likely to remain so in the near future, he says.

The Ultra Fast Broadband project isn't yet driving demand for personnel, he says, with contract details still to be finalised.

"We're not seeing it yet," Hay says.

The commentary on Robert Walters' second-quarter market update notes: "With the government's push for a shared-services "all of government" model, the Department of Internal Affairs has been structured so that it can offer IT services across the public sector and this will continue their drive for efficiency and value for money, no doubt leading to further change throughout 2011."

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