Over a third of Australian Technology Leaders Plan to Increase Staff Levels over the Next 6 Months

June 20, 20168:10 am798 views

Across Australia, technology is still taking centre stage as its breathtaking pace of change creates opportunities for organisations.

According to the latest independent survey by specialist recruiter Robert Half, confidence among IT leaders is strong. Despite a decrease of 6% compared to the first half of the year, the vast majority (81%) of Australian CIOs say they are confident about their company’s growth prospects in the forthcoming year.

As technology and the business environment becomes more complex, companies need to make sure they have the necessary expertise to keep up and get ahead.  Although there was a decrease of 9% compared to the first half of 2016, still almost four in ten (39%) CIOs plan to expand their technology teams in the next six months.

Another 56% of CIOs across the nation anticipate maintaining IT headcount levels by filling vacated positions when they arise, up 15% from the first half of the year. The number of organisations freezing their hiring for permanent technology professionals has reduced from 10% to 5%.

David Jones, Senior Managing Director Robert Half Asia Pacific said: “Rapid advances in technology are changing the way companies do business. Organisations today are embracing cloud computing, Big Data and mobile technologies, and this is driving demand for candidates with niche skills and experience. CIOs know that if they don’t capitalise on the business opportunities technology brings, they will be left behind.”

“In addition, new technological investments, business planning systems and migration projects prompt companies to continue to rely on contract and consultancy IT professionals.”

There are some significant differences between Australian states. Expansion plans for New South Wales and Victoria are going strong with almost half (48%) of IT leaders across both states planning to increase their permanent headcount in IT. Even though IT leaders in Queensland and West Australia are below national average, still 33% and 28% respectively indicated plans to increase IT staff headcount.

“The differences between states in terms of hiring plans are not surprising. As Australia’s economy transitions away from the resource sector the recruitment market is most buoyant in New South Wales and Victoria, but all states continue to examine the cost/benefit analysis that technology investments can bring,” David Jones added.

See: Australian wages continue sluggish growth

When looking at company size, medium sized companies have the highest growth expectations with 42% looking to expand their technology teams. With more than one-third (35%) of CIOs from small businesses and 39% of CIOs from large businesses having plans for expansion in the second half of 2016, this signifies strong hiring plans across all company sizes.

Additional hiring is the result of several factors; More than seven in ten (71%) CIOs cite new projects and initiatives as one of the top reasons for increasing headcount, followed by business growth (40%), system upgrades (40%), IT security (37%) and new market penetration (35%).

Top 5 reasons for increasing the number of technology professionals

New projects/initiatives 71%
Business growth or expansion (domestic) 40%
Systems upgrades 40%
IT risk & security 37%
New market penetration 35%

Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among Australian CIOs

What are the top IT positions in demand?

  1. Business Analysts: As Australian companies embark on transformation projects to improve Business Intelligence and harness the power of Big Data, Business Analysts (BAs) are in demand.
  2. Support Analysts: Employees and clients alike expect around-the-clock, around-the-world access to business technology and data, meaning there is an increased reliance on Support Analysts to minimise disruptions.
  3. Software Developers: Companies are increasingly investing in specialised software to drive business growth, which means a proliferation in Software Developer roles.
  4. IT Project Managers (PMs): As businesses transform legacy systems to new Business Intelligence focused architectures, PMs are required to navigate the inherent challenges in implementing these new technologies.
  5. IT security specialists: In a world of Big Data, IT security has never been more important. The threat of hacks, data losses and service disruptions are driving CIOs to hire IT Security professionals to mitigate the short and long term risks of data security breaches.
  6. Systems Engineers and Systems Administrators: Cloud technologies and business reliance on Big Data mean Systems Engineers and Administrators are under greater pressure to deploy and maintain platforms to power the business forward, which explains why their roles are in high demand.

“Technology and innovation are seen as vital for driving business growth and this is reflected in both the number of IT projects planned and the nature of those initiatives – notably IT security, business intelligence and analytics, mobile solutions and application development. In order to meet the demands of the business CIOs are attracted to the kind of flexible management method that is achieved by combining permanent and contract employment,” David Jones concluded.

Also read: Top 14 IT Skills in Demand in Australia as Hiring Activity Set to Surge in 2016

Image credit: roberthalf.com.au

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