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

February 9, 20168:35 am2821 views

IT professionals with experience with cloud based technologies, P2V, security or DevOps are in high demand in 2016, according to recruiting experts Hays. In Information Technology, the demand for niche IT skill sets will surge this year.

The latest Hays Quarterly Report of skills in demand notes: “IT is a sector to watch and with demand outstripping supply in many areas, employers are more willing than ever to recruit based on cultural fit.”

“Australia’s IT sector is enjoying a much higher profile after the announcement of the Australian Prime Minister’s $1 billion innovation initiatives as well as a number of high profile Australian technology successes on the global stage,” says Peter Noblet, Senior Regional Director of Hays Information Technology.

“We are also seeing a spike in the number of organisations of all types leveraging technology to create or manage transformational change as well as more non-tech departments learning how to use the latest technology to help them perform tasks in new ways. There really is no sector or department not exposed to technological change these days.”

There’s also been a significant increase in permanent roles within the project services space as employers recognise the value of retaining project delivery expertise and investing in the development of internal teams to deliver business and technology projects.

Given all this, candidates in greatest demand have solid technical skills and strong soft skills that enable them to engage proactively and successfully with non-technical stakeholders. However, finding candidates with a combination of these skills continues to remain a challenge for many companies on lookout for key talent.

“As a result more employers are making cultural fit, the deciding factor when choosing candidates, believing that technical skills can be acquired if candidates have the right attitude and a passion for their work.”

Skills in greatest demand

According to the latest Hays Quarterly Report of skills in demand, the following IT professionals are needed:

  1. Dynamics CRM Developers: There is a huge supply gap in the market.
  2. .Net Developers: Needed for both web and desktop systems to deliver customised solutions, as are .Net Developers with strong SharePoint experience to work in integrated development environments.
  3. Active directory experience: Highly regarded and used in many IT roles.
  4. Agile Project Managers and Agile Business Analysts: Both highly sought. In addition, Business Analysts with a commercial background and excellent communication skills are in demand.
  5. Application Project Managers with software implementation experience and Implementation Consultants: Both are seeing good demand for their skills.
  6. Cloud based technologies: Candidates with Amazon Web Services (AWS) skills are in particularly short supply. In addition, Vendor/Supplier Management skills are needed to help companies moving towards AWS and other cloud providers.
  7. Cloud Specialists with SaaS and IaaS experience: Those able to help realise cost efficiencies are a hiring priority for many employers.
  8. Experience in P2V (physical to virtual) migration projects: Needed as more businesses look to virtualise their environments.
  9. Security skills: This demand will only increase. Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP) and Certified Information Security Managers (CISM) are in hot demand.
  10. DevOps experience, particularly Chef/Puppet: Demand will continue to rise to improve software releases. We strongly suggest candidates highlight any skills across Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS). Candidates who can straddle multiple IT requirements are also a hiring priority.
  11. SharePoint Developers: Sought to work on an increased number of projects.
  12. Mobile Development capability: In demand given the proliferation of mobile apps. Support roles for Mobile and Tablets are on the rise too in line with increased use of these devices over laptop and PC’s.
  13. Front End Development skills and User Interface/User Experience skills (UI/UX) remain in hot demand.
  14. Business Intelligence, Analytics candidates and Data Architects: All sought to help companies second guess the movements of their customers.

Like many parts of the world, Australia’s private sector is increasingly adopting the HR business partner model. Management consultancies have been pioneers of this model but larger corporations are now following suit.

While most HR Business Partners work on a permanent basis, overall most senior HR appointments are contract roles. The majority of these roles are either strategic, occupational organisational development or change management-focused positions.

See: Australian Women Missing Out On ‘Big Roles’ in an Attempt to Close Gender Pay Gap

For all other levels, we continue to see a strong mix of permanent and temporary/contract roles. Temporary engagement is preferred for recruitment roles and more entry-level HR roles.

This year will also see increased hiring activity for Learning and Development (L&D) candidates, particularly those with experience in establishing L&D practices within an organisation. However skill shortages exist across L&D and also workforce planning.

We have also seen an increase in demand for qualified HR professionals with generalist experience. Businesses are now recognizing the value of these professionals, as it can add to overall staff engagement. HR Generalists are also able to take on work that frees up more senior practitioners to focus on strategy, planning and change management.

To succeed, candidates need a high attention to detail and strong skills in Excel and HR systems. In terms of soft skills, communication and emotional intelligence top the list of requirements.

In the public sector, more HR contractors are being hired with the most easily to place candidates being those with relevant systems knowledge. With lots of change and transformation projects taking place, entry-level HR candidates with project experience are also in demand.

Skills in demand

In terms of the January to March quarter, HR Business Partners are in high demand to work closely with senior leaders in developing people strategies aligned to the business strategy. HR business partnering is becoming increasingly relevant to organisations wanting to break down silos and promote greater collaboration. High-level communication skills and good business acumen are essential to be successful in this role.

HR Managers with very commercial outlooks, a solid knowledge of wider business practices and an understanding of the bottom line are highly sought. HR Managers, as well as HR Generalists are in solid demand to oversee many of the operational responsibilities of busy HR departments to free up more senior staff to work on high-level strategy.

Workforce/HR Analytics candidates are always in short supply. HR Advisors are needed to underpin broader HR strategies and provide solid staffing support as well as to execute people strategies developed at a higher level.

There is also an increasing need for specialists to represent the business in engaging the workforce and stakeholders in best practice and negotiating with staff and employee groups. Roles in demand include Employee Relations Managers and Industrial Relations Specialists but an in-depth knowledge of Fair Work and investigations is expected even for those in entry-level roles.

Remuneration & Benefits (R&B) Specialists are being recruited by larger organisations to help develop and budget R&B programs and align these to workforce planning strategies.

Organizations are expected to focus on culture change or new system implementations and improvements. This is expected to drive up demand for Senior HR professionals focused on change. Most of these roles are on a contract or interim basis.

Learning and Development is a fast growing area but the reasons behind hiring increases differ from one sector to another. For example, in the Oil & Gas sector, L&D is needed to train staff on meeting compliance requirements. In other sectors L&D programs are part of change management programs.

Organisational Development specialists are being hired in organisations undergoing restructures to create training to fill skill gaps.

Candidate trends

Candidates are investing more in their own education and skill development to take advantage of high demand areas such as L&D, Workforce/HR Analytics and Workforce Planning.

In general, candidates are looking to gain variety in their role, not necessarily for career development reasons but to gain a fresh perspective or exposure to a new environment.

To the far south, we are seeing an influx of interstate candidates relocating to Tasmania for its terrific lifestyle as well as the broader career path on offer for HR professionals there. Tasmania is an amazing place to explore work-life balance. Permanent roles appear to be at that HR Advisor/HR Generalist level.

Also read: Generation Y keen to head overseas and escape slowing Australian economy

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