ITCRA, the IT Contract and Recruitment Association, which tracks data from its member recruiters, said that a year ago contracts lasting up to 12 weeks made up just 16 per cent of all contracts let – but this has now leapt to 35 per cent. Conversely contracts lasting 7-12 months now only account for about 23 per cent of all contracts, compared to almost 37 per cent a year ago.
According to the CEO of ITCRA, Julie Mills the latest quarterly survey result hinges particularly on the job cuts which are taking place across Queensland, Victoria and to a lesser extent NSW as the State Governments rein in spending. “This is all about treading water – everybody is holding their breath,” she said.
However Ms Mills said that; “the broader outlook is positive”, adding that ICT professionals should take heart from the fact that there are still contracts on offer, unlike some other professions where there is less of an established contracting marketplace.
She said that among ITCRA members about 70 per cent of all placements were now for contract roles, compared to 30 per cent permanent placement. She said that in some agencies the split was closer even to 80:20.
Ms Mills said that although there had been a shift toward shorter term contracts over the last 12 months; “My members are not reporting huge numbers of contractors out of work.” However she did acknowledge that the report indicated Australia was no longer in the grip of a “huge ICT skills shortage.”
ITCRA’s report found that average pay rates have been generally steady throughout 2012 – but that masks some significant peaks and troughs. Hourly rates for web developers have risen 49 per cent while rates offered to account managers have dropped by a half.
In terms of the implications for permanent roles Ms Mills said that she did not expect many more full time jobs to be available for a little while until the economic situation was more settled. And for Queenslanders looking for a public service ICT role she predicted particularly lean pickings for another year or more.