The ICT professionals' vacancies indicator in Australia is continuing to decline, according to the Information Technology Contract and Recruitment Association (ITCRA).
This was reflected in the latest Longhaus-ITCRA Australian Tech Index, a composite of eight indicators which together provide a summary of changes in the level of ICT business activity within Australia, drawing on information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), the Australian Stock Exchange and ITCRA's SkillsMatch data.
It showed that ICT vacancies for September, as measured by DEEWR in its Internet Vacancy Index for ICT professionals, fell for the eighth consecutive month.
ITCRA CEO, Julie Mills, said the number of online ICT vacancies during the third quarter of this year dropped to a record low level since DEEWR began reporting in 2006.
"A reduction in ICT vacancies and a decline in hiring intentions represent a softening of the ICT labour market, but this is not out of context with the total Australian labour market," Longhaus managing director, Peter Carr, said.
However, he claimed that although economists tip a rise in the unemployment rate to 5.75 percent by mid-2013, the ICT sector is expected to continue to outperform the market, with seven of the eight indicators measured showing positive.
ITCRA said the ICT sector will enjoy 'business as usual' conditions in spite of the difficult employment conditions facing the broader Australian economy.
The CIO Poll, a forward looking survey conducted by Longhaus, found an increased intention by CIOs and ICT decision makers to commence new ICT and business projects.
"There was also a slight increase in CIO confidence for the fourth quarter of 2012, suggesting promising times ahead. The ICT sector is currently performing as expected," Carr said.
He also added that the July to September quarter of any given year provides an important gauge of the health of the ICT sector, as the beginning of the new financial year means the renewal of employment contracts and the start of new budgets.
"In a labour market where demand exceeds supply, salaries and wages are more likely to head up than down. This is certainly the case in Australia, where ICT professionals have seen an average 3.9 per cent increase in salaries in the calendar year to mid-2012," Mills said.