The Longhaus-ITCRA Australian Tech Index, which has been released today is far from rosy, but according to Julie Mills, the CEO of ITCRA (the IT Contracting and Recruitment Association); “I’d rather be an ICT worker than a manufacturing worker.” Ms Mills said that it was important to remember that ICT recruitment was coming from a very strong position in the economy, probably second only to mining.
Peter Carr, the managing director of Longhaus, meanwhile said; “Even when things are pretty bad in IT, they’re not that bad. This is the first collective time in IT that is an opportunity to take a few weeks off.”
While a holiday may be just what many IT workers would like, there’s no clear signal that things will be brighter when they get back from the beach.
Mr Carr noted that analysing the data showed a “linear regression over the last 12-15 months trending down.” However he said CIOs remained optimistic and there was some sense of an inflexion point and that the market may already have bottomed out.
Just a month ago ITCRA released data showing that more than a third of all ICT contracts let in the three months to the end of June were for just one to three months. While one year ago contracts lasting up to 12 weeks made up just 16 per cent of all contracts let – that had by June 2012 leapt to 35 per cent. Conversely contracts lasting 7-12 months only accounted for about 23 per cent of all contracts, compared to almost 37 per cent a year ago.
Mr Carr acknowledged the shorter contract spans but suggested that although CIOs were responsible for some short contracts, contractors themselves were unwilling to lock themselves into longer terms, preferring shorter contracts in order to take advantage of any future uptick in salaries.
The Longhaus-ITCRA Australian Tech Index tracks data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), the Australian Stock Exchange and ITCRA’s SkillsMatch data. It has fallen each quarter since the beginning of 2011, aside from a minor two point increase in the fourth quarter of 2011.