Jobs market shows sign of thaw

The IT recruitment market may be enjoying spring after a very cold winter. Some recruitment chiefs say hiring freezes are ceasing and more firms are looking for staff. However, others say the IT jobs market remains chilly.

The IT recruitment market may be enjoying spring after a very cold winter.

Some recruitment chiefs say hiring freezes are ceasing and more firms are looking for staff. However, others say the IT jobs market remains chilly.

Auckland-based Enterprise spokesman Barry O’Brien says there’s a recovery “right across the board”.

“It’s like a spring breath has come through the market. Companies seem a lot more optimistic. A number of new projects have been awarded locally and overseas,” he says.

“There is a slight tightening of availability of those with good skills and these people are finding jobs more quickly.”

IT@Manpower’s Martin Barry says the market is “positive and balanced” with some shortages of those with C++ and Unix skills. Many clients are seeking IT staff, though he says the Hewlett-Packard-Compaq merger is “unsettling”.

After laying off people several months ago, recruitment firm Candle also claims the market is “definitely warming up”.

“That seems to be the consensus with vendors and solution providers. They are very positive and we are seeing a side of it,” says Auckland manager Christine Fitchew.

“August was very good, July wasn’t too bad and we hope September will be better still,” she says. Fitchew says volumes are up on last year and the market usually picks up at this time of year.

Glenn Bratton of Robert Walters also claims a good August, saying his firm has avoided the retrenchment of the others.

“We have exceeded our targets and we will probably do so again this month,” he says.

But looking at the wider market he doubts there’s an upturn, saying many organisations are slowing down their hiring and one or two a week add to a list of those not recruiting.

“We have kept going with the clients we have and they keep us going,” he says.

Neville Andrews of TMP eResourcing shows similar sceptism, saying the opportunities with IT vendor are few, with headcount freezes from the multinationals, though smaller end-users and outsourcers are doing well.

“I think it will be tight for another month but good consultants and companies will still get the work,” he says.

Grahame Bilby of Spherion is also less cheery.

“We find the market tight and we have not seen any evidence of it getting easier,” Bilby says.

“The agencies I talk to find the same as me. There’s not the opportunities we are used to having.”

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Tags recruitment

More about Candle IT & T RecruitmentCompaqHewlett-Packard AustraliaManpowerSpherionTMP

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