IT hiring in New Zealand remains strong

Hiring intentions in the ICT sector for the October-December quarter are up 2.7 percentage points on the same quarter last year, according to Hudson’s latest employment expectations survey.

And compared to October-December 2009, employer hiring sentiment is up 26.4 percentage points, demonstrating the difference in sentiment between now and the recession-affected, candidate-rich market of two years ago.

The Hudson survey indicates employer sentiment about hiring expectations by measuring the “net effect”, a figure arrived at by taking the percentage of employers surveyed that expect to increase staff levels during the coming three months and subtracting the percentage who plan to decrease headcount.

The survey, carried out in September, polled 1,089 employers across 16 industry segments, including IT and telecommunications.

The survey’s summary of key findings notes: “Information technology is the second most confident industry nationally, with employer sentiment up 2.1 percentage points over the [July to September] quarter to 51.4 percent, from 49.3 percent, and up 2.7 percentage points year-on-year.”

The report notes: “The uplift is driven by the Government’s $1.5 billion investment in the rollout of the ultra-fast broadband network over the next ten years” and “moves by New Zealand businesses to continue investing in upgrading their technology platforms is driving demand for skilled business analysts and testers in the sector.”

In Christchurch, office relocations due to the earthquakes and the implementation of projects delayed due to the quakes have impacted demand for IT skills, the report notes.

In the Upper North Island, hiring intentions in telecommunications are up 13.4 percentage points, from 21.2 percent to 36.4 percent, compared with the July-September quarter, and up 20.8 percentage points year-on-year. According to Hudson this is due to the ultra-fast broadband rollout.

In the Lower North Island, hiring intentions in IT dropped 10.6 percentage points from the previous quarter and 6.5 percentage points year-on-year.

“The softening in IT recruitment points to the stabilisation of some major national and international transformation programmes which have reached capacity from earlier recruitment drives”, the commentary on the survey notes.

The election and mergers of some government departments may also have contributed to the downturn in sentiment.

However, the downturn is relative, as last quarter and last year recorded very high hiring sentiment in Wellington.

In the South Island, sentiment is up 21.7 percentage points year-on-year, but slightly below the July-September figure, at 48 percent.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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