Tuesday, 04 March 2014 19:20

ICT leads the way in executive employment stakes Featured

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The ICT sector has easily outstripped every other business and industry sector in the executive job stakes, with employment demand for execs in the sector up a whopping 70% last month.  Demand for executives across all other sectors was also relatively buoyant, increasing by 24%.

The engineering sector was the other sector, along with ICT, paving the way in increasing executive employment, with an uplift in February of 35%.

The executive employment increases in both ICT and engineering follows gains in the final months of 2013. ICT led the way in February, assisted by a significant pick-
up in all of the large states, while the marketing and financial sectors saw the smallest increase, largely due to only small gains in new government positions.

The latest figures are revealed today by executive search firm EL Consult in its executive demand Index for February, with EL Managing Director Grant Montgomery describing the 24% rise in demand across all sectors as “astounding”.

“While the improved result is in line with our expectations late last year the rise and extent of the increases in executive demand is astounding.”

"The massive increase in Information Technology employment shows we are moving with the times and embracing the newer ‘on-line’ industries. Australia can and is competing at the highest levels.”

Montgomery said that although the ICT sector has again led the way in the market, rising 70%, it is still, however, at “very low levels, affecting the percentage movements of the index.” Nevertheless, he says the “signs are encouraging,” and the decreasing trend seems to have lessened and “the importance of IT seems to be growing around the economy.”

“The long-term Australia appears to be moving away from manufacturing and to high technology services and manufacturing based on high technology which takes advantage of our educated population, efficient agriculture and large natural resource.

“With the Australian currency depreciating from its 2103 highs and increased business investment the Reserve Bank is predicting a full economic recovery by late this year.”

According to Montgomery, on the engineering front, “public infrastructure is probably the star but we are also seeing large new investment in extraction industries such as gas projects. The upturn in engineering jobs this month is driven by the feasibility and evaluation phase. As we move into construction and operation these numbers are going to improve further.

Montgomery observes that executive employment is a “heavy commitment and, for business, a significant investment,” with “business investment in February clearly back with the Information Technology and Engineering sectors.”

“This increasing confidence from the business sector has occurred across the board and can be put down to a number of factors.

“Most significant of these is that businesses are now more certain about their future.

“This is not that the new government is likely to be friendly to business, though could be partially true, but that there will be at least three years of consistent policy direction as Australia emerges from the longest federal election campaign in history,” Montgomery observes.

“Other factors include a decline in exchange rates, increased corporate profits and a general uplift in the US economy,” Montgomery says.

“With recent highly publicised closures in manufacturing industries such Alcoa, Toyota and GMH some good news on the economy could not be better timed.

“Clearly Australia cannot compete against the emerging economies on manufacturing but strong growth in executive employment is a clear indication that we can and are building a strong service sector.”

“The long-term Australia appears to be moving away from manufacturing and to high technology services and manufacturing based on high technology which takes advantage our educated population, efficient agriculture and large natural resource.

“With the Australian currency depreciating from its 2103 highs and increased business investment the Reserve Bank is predicting a full economic recovery by late this year.”

According to EL, the executive employment gains in February were broad, with every state and territory recording positive outcomes for the month, led by Western Australia and New South Wales.

And, the Index reveals that Victorian executive positions increased on the back of improving results in all sectors, particularly engineering.

Nationally, the marketing and financial sectors saw the smallest increase, largely due to only very small gains in new government positions.

Montgomery says the three-monthly national trend in executive employment is slightly higher as it “throws off the low results of late last year,” and he says EL expects that the next few months will continue to build this upward trend.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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