Recruiters give their picks for 2008

Demand for skills expected to remain tight, especially for developers

There’s no sign of a let-up in demand for IT staff this year, says AbsoluteIT Auckland director Martin Barry.

Areas in particularly hot demand include Business Intelligence, especially for SQL Server, and data warehousing, Barry says.

In the development area, web development skills are in short supply, he says, especially web development for mobile applications.

“There’s also strong demand for project managers, both on the applications and infrastructure side, and there’s always high demand for skilled business analysts.”

Generally, “things are pretty positive for everyone in IT”, and the contracting market continues to be strong.

On the permanent staff side, employers are offering non-monetary incentives such as health insurance for employees and their families, he says.

“That’s the sort of thing candidates who have multiple job offers are looking at.”

The candidate shortage is being addressed partly by recruiting from overseas, Barry says, and AbsoluteIT’s UK office is proving successful in placing candidates, he says. The company has also helped recruit candidates from Asia, especially the Philippines and India.

Sally Breed, managing director of Auckland recruitment firm IT@Work, says 2008 is going to be “an equally full-on year [to 2007] from a recruitment perspective.

“However, there may be more of an emphasis on placing contractors and a slight slowdown on the permanent side,” Breed says.

“We partner with organisations which have very project-centric environments and requirements tend to be for fixed-term periods.”

The skills shortage will be an ongoing issue, she predicts, and staff retention strategies will be “paramount”.

Project managers, business solution architects and business analysts will be in particular demand this year.

“Also, we see developers in the web space as being very sought-after, not necessarily in one specific area of development, but people who have an overall grasp on the internet technology solutions available to an organisation.”

Ben Pearson, a Wellington-based director of Beyond Recruitment, says whatever flow-on effect the slowdown in the US may be having, “it’s not translating into any lack of buoyancy in the local IT market.”

Indeed, he says, “if organisations are looking at consolidating etcetera, IT is getting invested in as a mechanism for efficiency, rather than being cut back.”

Demand for staff in Wellington has been strong over the Christmas-New Year break, he says, “but the IT industry moves in seven- to eight-year cycles in our experience, and the last lull was in 2001-02, so 2009 may be tough, and we could see some sign of that towards the end of 2008.”

That’s based on the cycle, not on the current state of the market, he says.

The skills shortage is “the same as always”, he says, with software developers, especially those with Java and .Net skills, and testers in short supply.

“Mid-level technical resources are the pressure point”, he says, with entry-level and senior positions easier to fill.

There are many large government IT projects on the go in Wellington, which are keeping things busy from a recruitment perspective, he says. There has also been a notable increase in willingness by employers to take on overseas candidates, he says.

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