IT tops staff hiring survey again

Bi-annual client poll by recruitment firm shows sector is the most upbeat when it comes to staffing intentions

IT has once more emerged as the most positive sector of the economy in terms of hiring plans, according to recruiter Hudson’s latest employment expectations survey.

According to the survey, a “net positive” 54.1% of IT employers plan to take on staff between July and December, more than in any other industry.

The “net positive” figure is arrived at by taking the percentage of employers surveyed who intend to increase staffing levels and subtracting the percentage who intend to reduce their workforce.

It’s the second time in a row that IT has topped the survey on a sector-by-sector basis and Hudson IT&T practice manager Campbell Hepburn says the result demonstrates the “heightened acceptance and recognition that IT is increasingly driving business”.

The ongoing demand for IT staff shows that organisations are recognising that technology “is adding value re customer experience and providing staff with [tools] that drive a lot of internal efficiency”, he says.

The lower North Island was particularly buoyant in terms of IT hiring intentions, with a net positive 64.5% of respondents saying they will increase staffing levels between July and December.

Hepburn says Wellington’s continuing strong economic growth, of which government is a big part, is driving the demand in that region.

By contrast, the net positive figure for IT in the Upper North Island was 34% and other sectors, such as financial services and transport, showed higher figures. However, IT topped the sector-by-sector survey in the South Island, rating at 75%.

With the lower North Island and South Island figures propelling IT to the top of the list nationally, “the result continues to indicate an extremely positive outlook for the coming six months in this sector and is 18.1 percentage points above the national average,” the survey notes.

Hepburn says the most sought-after IT staff include .Net developers, those with Java skills, test analysts and business analysts.

“We’re still seeing some demand for senior project managers, but not as much as for systems development and architecture skills,” he says. VoIP engineers also remain in high demand.

While the survey — of 1,705 Hudson clients — once again showed IT to be a buoyant sector, the overall response was that things aren’t quite as rosy as they have been recently.

“The survey shows, and anecdotal evidence from our clients reinforces, that employers are more cautious about the future than over the previous two-year period,” the report notes.

“While the economy is slowing, there are also short-term inflationary pressures being experienced by the economy that [are] having having an effect on the hiring intentions of managers.”

The main inflationary pressure is rising oil prices, the report notes.

There are also differences in how large, medium-sized and small organisations intend to hire in the second half of the year, according to the report.

“Small organisations, with a net positive 42.7% of employees indicating an intention to increase permanent employment levels, are 6.7 percentage points above the national average.

“At a net positive 36.7%, medium-sized employers are slightly above the national average, while larger organisations, with a net positive 34.3%, are 1.7 percentage points below the national average.

“Hudson has observed that large companies have been experiencing hiring freezes driven by events such as organisation restructures.

“However, small businesses have remained more buoyant due to their flexibility and niche market focus”, the report notes.

The observations on large, small and medium-sized organisations relate to the economy as a whole, not just IT.

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