SEEK Employment Trends: spotlight on the information and communication technology industry

It’s impossible to imagine life without digital technology. Business today would stand still. This may be why more organisations are investing in the resources required to protect the vital data that keeps our economy ticking over.

The latest information from the SEEK Employment Trends reports show that IT security roles are in high demand within the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, growing by 57% year-on-year in February 2016. While this sub-classification led the charge within the ICT sector, other categories were hot on its heels.

A strong sector

Although advertising for ICT roles appear to have lost some momentum in recent months, it still remains a relatively strong sector in Australia and grew 10% year-on-year. and candidate availability was average, suggesting reasonable conditions for both candidates and employers.

SEEK Employment Managing Director, Michael Ilczynski, says the growth in job ads in the ICT sector at a state level reflects the overall employment trends nationwide. “Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales all experienced double digit growth in ICT job ads,” he says.

Ilczynski adds the decline in demand for the sector in Western Australia is in keeping with the state’s challenging economic environment. “It’s likely that businesses don’t have the resources to go ahead with new IT infrastructures or projects, which is having a direct reflection on their hiring needs,” he says.

The need for security

Zena Clark, Operations Director Australia at Randstad Technologies, a division of recruitment firm Randstad, believes the demand for IT security roles will continue to increase. “There were some very public security breaches last year and I think companies are realising the importance of data security,” she says

Clark adds that security roles are also now in demand during development phases. “Development teams are taking security features into account from the ground up,” she explains. “It’s not just about making sure firewalls are up to speed, it’s about altering the way products are built to ensure the information is secure.”

Mark Nielson, APAC CEO of global IT recruitment specialist, Talent International, says the increase in IT security listings can also be attributed to sophisticated artificial intelligence and the unprecedented uptake in cloud computing by Australian businesses over the past 12 months. He believes this has fuelled demand for specialists to keep networks secure.

“With businesses expanding their offerings to meet customer web and mobility requirements, coupled with the advancement in devices with artificial intelligence capabilities, it is now more important than ever to be able to anticipate the level of sophistication possible when it comes to cybercrimes,” says Nielson. “There has been a significant increase in the way governments, businesses and people rely on technology and mobility, as well as the rapid expansion of cloud computing, and as a result, IT security is one of the fastest growing areas we are seeing in the industry today.”

Increases across categories

It was not only IT security roles that were in demand across the ICT sector in February 2016. There was also an increase in SEEK job ads for team leaders, which grew by 25% compared to the same time last year, while helpdesk and IT support also saw an increase of 16%.

“People have been saying for years that the window is closing on the helpdesk and it’s all going to be outsourced, but the reality is that there is still so much work in this area,” says Clark. “We won’t see massive increases year-on-year but you’re still going to have big volumes and it’s certainly bread and butter for a lot of our consultants.”

There was also a 47% year-on-year increase in SEEK job ads for technical writers. Damien Ross, CEO of Davidson Technology, a division of recruitment firm Davidson, says this may be due to an increase in capital expenditure. “Since the Turnbull government came into power, there has been a renewed focus on capital expenditure,” he says. “It’s often technical writers that are the leading indicators of new projects starting up, as they are usually required at the commencement.”

A dip in database development

Although demand in ICT grew year-on-year in February 2016, some categories within the sector experienced a decline in SEEK job ads. Database development and administration dropped by 7% compared to the same time last year. “Rather than database development and administration, we’re seeing more growth in data management and analytics,” says Ross.

Other categories that saw a decline in February 2016 were web development and production, which dipped by 4% year-on-year, and consultant roles, which were down by 17% compared to the same time last year.

As the need for IT security continues to grow, this category will remain in high demand across the ICT sector. Clark says security is leading the way in an industry she describes as strong and exciting. “The ICT industry as a whole is doing very well right now,” she says. “Technical people want to be stimulated and they want to be stretched and there’s a lot of interesting projects out there to attract them.”

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