According to Candle there is a shortfall of just over 8,000 ICT workers in Australia. However that shortfall is not uniform – there are in fact too many ICT managers and technicians and not enough ICT professionals according to the Clarius Skills Index.
The Index is a measure of the skills-demand balance in Australia conducted by KPMG for Clarius and is based on analysis of data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) data regarding unemployment rates and job advertisements. An index of 100 represents perfect skills-demand balance where figures above 101 are considered to indicate skills shortages.
For the June quarter the analysis shows a slight oversupply of ICT managers and technicians, while the index for ICT professionals in the June quarter rose from 102.6 in March to 103.8, which is classified as an “extreme” shortage. It seems sharply at odds with anecdotal evidence – and some other surveys - regarding the state of the ICT labour market.
In June for example Peoplebank reported that demand for IT professionals in Canberra had collapsed with IT professional hiring 40 per cent down on the previous year with some contractors also taking a salary cut.
The Clarius Index is a measure of labour demand divided by labour supply, and is based on ABS statistics regarding the number of IT employees, the number of people registered as unemployed and the number of job vacancies tracked by DEEWR. The question is whether IT professionals register themselves as unemployed between gigs?
With the IT market shifting increasingly to a contract rather than permanent market, it seems less likely that seasoned IT professionals would register as unemployed knowing they likely would be ineligible for benefits given the means testing involved, and expecting that another contract – albeit likely shorter according to ITCRA tracking – would be just around the corner.
That under-reporting of unemployment for the ABS would automatically lead to a rise in the IT professionals index as measured by KPMG, suggesting a skills gap, which in fact did not exist.
But what about salaries? Read on