Recruiters look to the year ahead

2007 is shaping up as another busy year in the ICT recruitment sector

IT shops will continue to struggle for good staff in 2007, especially at the cutting edges of technology, recruiters say.

Trends likely to continue this year include strong demand for .Net and J2EE developers as well as continued tight supply in the telecommunications space.

AbsoluteIT Auckland manager Martin Barry says 2007 is likely to see a continuation of the skills shortage.

“There’ll be very strong demand for .Net developers, business analysts, project managers and software testers,” he says.

Candidates with large enterprise infrastructure experience will also be in demand and the government’s decision to unbundle the local loop will see some major investments in the telecommunications space that will make their way into IT.

The retail, finance and health sectors are also likely to see continued demand for ICT staff, Barry says, and Microsoft Vista will also be an area where skills are keenly sought.

“It’ll be interesting to see how many people move to Vista — anyone with Vista experience will be in demand for the next couple of years.”

Candidates with two to four years’ experience will be particularly hard to find, Barry says, due to the lack of investment in training by ICT employers and organisations during the slump in the industry in the early 2000s.

However, the lack of candidates with that level of experience won’t be permanent, he says, “because we’re now seeing employers [who are] committed to taking on graduates”.

Developments such as Ace Training’s industry internship programme — available to graduates of its Microsoft courses — will also help, he says.

The continuing skills shortage this year may push salaries up, but Barry says pay rates didn’t rise as much in 2006 as he thought they might have.

“They’ve gone up, but not dramatically.”

There has been more movement in pay rates in Australia than here in recent months, he says.

CPU Recruitment managing director Craig Parsons says “we expect 2007 to continue on a slightly upscaled level, with firms continuing to invest in new staff to work on a number of key development initiatives”.

What Parsons calls “the perceived skills shortage” has softened, he says, “more than likely triggered by the influx of skilled migrants across all sectors of the IT industry”.

He says the skills shortage may appear more severe than it actually is because some preferred supplier agreements are preventing employers from finding good candidates.

“Sometimes a skills shortage in the eyes of the customer can mean that their specific agencies under their PSA can’t find the people, whereas looking further afield and outside the agreement can deliver the people”.

Areas likely to continue to see high demand this year include .Net and J2EE developers, and functional, development and database administration staff for ERP vendors such as Oracle and SAP, he says.

Business analysts in the telco, local government, and finance and banking sectors will also be in demand, he says.

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