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The tech jobs headhunters just can't fill

Project pipeline strong, but scarce skills and big pay packets frustrate employers

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Recuitment professionals just can't fill some jobs and sometimes it's your fault for wanting too much money.

So says Tenille Emmett, Head of Talent2's ICT Practice in Victoria, who told The Register “The jobs that are most challenging to fill at the moment are ones that require niche technical skill sets such as: Oracle Fusion, SAP functional architects and Salesforce specialists. Also, roles that require specific industry experience such as logistics and warehousing.”

Her problem, she says is “not always that the skills are not available.” Indeed, she says it is “more likely that organisations requesting the experience are not prepared to pay the higher salaries that these people are seeking or are not prepared to bring them on a competitive daily contract rate.”

But Peter Acheson, CEO of Australia’s largest IT recruiter Peoplebank, believes says the laws of supply and demand are about to swing back in favour of workers.

“The local IT skills market had been quiet in late 2011 and early 2012, but demand began lifting in March 2012,” he says. “At the rate at which demand is picking up, there will be a hot IT skills market across Australia by the end of June.”

One reason for his optimism is increased demand for Business Analysts, a type of worker Acheson says are in demand when new projects have approved. One such project he has observed is a top five bank “gearing up for the second wave of a major technology upgrade, by hiring BA specialists to translate business requirements around automation, into technology specs.”

Acheson also sees continued strong demand for Project Managers as a leading indicator that new projects are ready to roll, especially in the resources sector.

Workers with technical support experience, Analyst/Programmers with .NET or J2EE skills and Test Analysts and Testers will also find themselves in demand.

Candle's Executive General Manager Linda Trevor also feels some new projects are stimulating the jobs market. Trevor says “two major clients - a property company and a construction company” recently told her that they're reviving projects shelved during the GFC or for other reasons. Reviving those projects requires the services of Solution Architects, but the good ones are already engaged.

“The ability to communicate these changes like any business change is important especially if the particular project has been scoped more than once or twice, ” Trevor says.

She'd also like to have more iPhone developers on her books. “iPhone developers are hard to find because it is a niche technology and there is simply not a large enough skills base in this area at the moment in Australia.”

Jon Chapman, Director of Robert Half Technology, says that while more employers are using SharePoint and Salesforce, the skill they most is the ability to step back from a particular product or technology. “We have started to see a significant shift in what Australian businesses want from their IT systems,” he says. “The focus has shifted from data management to knowledge management, and this is having a big impact on the recruitment of IT professionals at all levels.   “There used to be a strong demand for individuals who were experts in certain areas or systems. Now businesses are looking for advisors who have a broader knowledge of different systems, and are concept-focused, vendor agnostic rather than just technology-focused.   “This is driving a demand for individuals who are able to look at a problem holistically and advise companies on the software that will meet their specific business needs, rather than being limited to a particular system.” ®

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