Stories by Andrew Hendry

'Horror' year for Aussie ICT jobs continues

The Australian IT&T industry has extended its decline in online job ads for the fifth month in a row.
The Olivier Job Index fell 4.42% in October with Australian job ads counted per week declining by 20,107 positions over the month.
The IT sector continued its poor year falling 2.28% for October to bring its annual rate of decline to 22.81% compared to last year.
Olivier Group director, Bob Olivier, warns there was no relief in sight for IT workers as Australia teeters on the brink of recession.
“I think the year to date has been a horror for the IT sector,” Olivier says.
“On the contracting side, from the employer’s perspective, recruiters and those out in work currently, they are fine. But the difficulty will be as projects finish up there is no indication that businesses are prepared to invest in projects in the IT space, which will mean fairly lean times ahead for many.”
Olivier advises contractors to go after permanent roles or seek an extension of their current work at least until the new year, as he does not expect there to be much on offer in the meantime.
Even permanent roles and graduates, Olivier says, are in for a tough time ahead as employers focus on their bottom line and try to justify headcounts.
“I don’t think they are retrenching with any relish, but I think that they are trying to justify both headcount and any new appointments. It’s hard in such an environment to think about your future talent, I think everyone is just preoccupied with the here and now when it gets that tight.”
Only the financial services and administrative sectors suffered greater decline in job numbers than IT over the past year.
Within IT the three largest market segments have all taken an annual battering: Multimedia, internet and graphics grew 5% this month but annually has dipped 16%; software development dropped 4.6% for the month and is down 24% for the year; and network communications and security is up 1.9% for the month but down 23% for the year.
“It’s pretty much red ink throughout,” Olivier says.
“It’s the accumulation of nine months of a very difficult environment; the Index has been coming off a couple of percentages every month, and we’re reversing the previous year’s good figures and we’re into negative territory.”
Olivier says the downturn is due to the credit crisis, lack of consumer confidence and general business malaise, but is not industry or state specific.
NSW, however, with its high concentration of white collar workers, was the worst performing state for October.
“On a state by state basis [for the IT sector ], NSW is down 22.75% for the year, Victoria is down 27.32%, even WA is down 9.8%… IT in QLD is down 23.43%, and the other big one that I think is also accounting for some of the difficulty in the IT sector is the ACT which is down 17.56%…and its going to be more of the same we fear.”
In September online job ads fell by 3.27%.

In censorship's muddy waters you don't know what's filtered

An law expert is warning that under the Australian government's proposed mandatory internet content filtering scheme Australians will have no way of finding out what "illegal" content has been censored and blocked online, while Greens Senator Scott Ludlam is voicing his concern over communications minister Stephen Conroy's ambiguity regarding exactly what content will or won't be blocked, and who will be able to opt-out of the filtering.

Telstra rejects opposition calls for separation

Telstra responded swiftly to the shadow communications minister's call for structural separation of the National Broadband Network builder, calling Bruce Billson's comments "totally irresponsible" in a statement released yesterday afternoon.

ITIL gets university's IT support back on track

Murdoch University in Western Australia is currently winding up an ITIL deployment that began late last year and has since "revolutionised" the way the university's IT support and services department manages its IT processes and assists its thousands of end users.

NAB embarks on five-year IT overhaul

The owner of the Bank of New Zealand, National Australia Bank, has started phase one of a five-year Next Generation Platform (NGP) initiative to overhaul its core banking systems.

Regulatory compliance tops issues facing IT managers

Regulatory compliance will be the top business and technology issue facing IT managers and executives worldwide in the next 12 to 18 months, with a major emphasis on protecting personally identifiable information (PII) and transaction monitoring.

SMS death threat scam arrives down under

A text message scam purporting to be from a hired hitman is reportedly duping Australians into sending thousands of dollars to the scammers to "buy" a stay of execution.

Mob uses Facebook to attack radio jock

After an on-air stoush with Melbourne underworld identity Mick Gatto on his 3AW radio station, New Plymouth-born Aussie radio personality Derryn Hinch has become the subject of a Facebook group titled "Derryn Hinch is a scumbag".

Credit union offers free online transaction security

Regional credit union Bananacoast Community Credit Union (BCU) this week launched an Australian first initiative that sees the Internet security solution, TrustDefender, provided free of charge to its online customers.

Budde pushes for utilities-based broadband model

Broadband’s increasing status as a critical driver of service industries such as health and education means the forthcoming Australian national broadband network must be truly open access with utilities-based pricing at its core, according to a report issued by telecommunications research firm BuddeComm.