The upbeat forecast for the IT jobs market this year has lost some pace. Recruiters and technology chiefs are predicting conservative hiring for at least the next six months as nervousness over softer retail sales and the global economy kicks in.
While most agree the appetite to hire permanent staff has increased, contractors are favoured.
The bright spot is the return of government hiring IT staff, along with the robust resources sector in Western Australia and Queensland. The telecommunications and utilities sectors are also thriving.
Peoplebank chief executive Peter Acheson said the market was 75 per cent back to pre-GFC hiring for IT.
"Things are not as bullish today as they were in March when the outlook was extremely strong and most people's view of the economy was positive," he said. "It has come off a little bit."
He said there was restraint around major new IT projects that were not yet funded.
"I think it will be a strong 2011-12," he said. "In terms of IT, there is a little bit of conservatism for the next few months, but once we get through that it will strengthen considerably."
Peoplebank, the largest IT & T recruiter in the country, has reported about a 5 per cent increase in contracting in the last quarter, while permanent roles have remained steady.
Candle ICT executive general manager Linda Trevor said the contracting market had increased by 8 per cent in the last quarter and predicted it would steadily climb during the next six months.
"The permanent market hasn't performed quite as expected," Ms Trevor said. "We had a really strong first half financial year (July-December 2010) and the second half (January-June) the clients have been much slower to make decisions. But saying that, the contract market has performed extremely well."
By Jennifer Foreshew, The Australian
5 July 2011