The IT sector is the most upbeat in the country when it comes to hiring intentions, according to recruitment firm Hudson’s latest quarterly survey of employer sentiment.
The July to September survey showed that a net 16.4 percent of IT sector employers intend to increase their permanent staffing levels in the July to September quarter, an 8.7 percentage point rise over the previous survey, which looked at the April to June quarter.
The net percentage is calculated by taking the percentage of employers that expect to increase their staffing levels over the forthcoming three months, then subtracting the percentage who expect to decrease staffing levels.
The survey polled 1552 employers across 19 industries, including IT.
Hudson’s commentary on the results notes: “The IT industry continues to report a relatively strong level of employer sentiment in comparison with other industries, with employers continually on the lookout to fill long-standing vacancies for difficult-to-find skill sets.
“A net 16.4 percent of employers have reported an intention to increase their permanent staff levels over the coming three months, up 8.7 percentage points from last quarter”.
The survey breaks the results down regionally, covering the upper North Island, lower North Island and South Island.
According to the commentary on the survey, upper North Island IT employers have reported a 12 percentage point increase in sentiment from the last survey, meaning a net 9.8 percent intend to raise staffing levels in the July to September quarter.
The commentary notes: “This result follows a significant period of cost-cutting, when IT employers aggressively cut back on business analysts and project managers as project work plummeted.”
However, “With the larger corporates starting to invest again in solutions, vendors may start to see an increase in work return, and demand for specialist projects creep back.”
In the lower North Island, a net 17 percent intend to increase staffing levels, a 4.8 percentage point rise over the previous survey.
“Skills shortages persist in some areas, despite the softer labour market, with many hiring managers on the lookout for certain skill sets, for example .Net developers, Microsoft reporting services specialists, architects, WebSphere specialists, Flex developers and top-end test managers,” the commentary notes.
In the South Island, a net 35 percent of IT employers said they would increase staffing levels, which is 16 percentage points up on the previous survey.
“Demand for IT professionals may start to return more strongly in coming quarters, as businesses turn to technology to drive productivity gains and reduce costs,” the survey notes.
The survey covers telecommunications as a separate industry sector to IT. Employer sentiment in telecommunications also rose from the previous survey, with a net 11.6 percent of respondents intending to hire more staff this quarter, a 37 percentage point increase on the previous survey.
In the upper North Island, the telecommunications sector saw a net positive hiring effect of 18.9 percent, a 43.9 percentage point increase over the last survey.
The commentary notes: “After having cut back on resources in previous quarters and moving contact centres offshore in an effort to reduce costs, some of the major telcos have now gone into flexible working hours in an effort to stave off further redundancies, while also putting considerable effort into their product offering in order to reposition for future growth.
“Considerable uncertainty remains in the industry, with plenty of competition in the mobile space.”
In the lower North Island, the net positive hiring intentions figure was 13.2 percent, Up 41.7 percentage points on the previous survey.
Sentiment is becoming positive again, after drops in the previous two quarters, the commentary notes.
“Significant restructures now appear to have been completed and there is a view that things will be better moving forward, especially with the Government’s commitment to broadband outlined in the budget.”
Overall, across all sectors, the commentary notes, “While conditions are still tough, the intense focus on cost reduction of the past six to nine months appears to be stabilising.
“Employers are now turning their attention to their long-term business strategy and how they are going to position themselves for growth once conditions improve.
“Indeed, many senior executives are realising they will need retention strategies to keep valuable people they will need to drive their way back to growth.”