IT jobs at low point but rebound expected in Q4

A survey has found that core computer/IT jobs will be plentiful in the fourth quarter, with 37.8 per cent of IT firms intending to increase staff numbers.

According to the TMP Worldwide Job Index, 7.2 per cent of IT firms are intending to sack staff in the next quarter and 37.8 per cent are planning to hire, giving a net effect of plus 30.6 per cent, which is 7.9 percentage points down on the previous quarter and 20 percentage points down on the upbeat hiring sentiments expressed in August 1999.

Jonathon Morse, TMP's team leader of IT sales, marketing and senior appointments, said that although the figures are down compared to other quarters, it certainly doesn't mean the "high-flying" days of IT are over, and that there are still opportunities out there, especially in the infrastructure support space.

Morse said companies are currently in "lock-down stage" and are waiting to see what happens in the next few months, but he expects things to pick up in Q4 and be back to previous highs by early 2002.

He said now is a good time for IT managers to talk to vendors about buying technology, as the focus is on maintaining customers rather than new markets.

The South Australian IT sector is the star performer for the quarter, with a net effect recorded of 52.6 per cent, up to 20.2 percentage points over the previous survey.

Hiring sentiments in all other states and territories are in decline, according to the index.

Queensland IT employers are showing a net effect of 44.8 per cent ( a decline of 29.1 percentage points over the previous quarter); ACT has a net effect of 35.8 per cent (down 8.7 points); Western Australia 32.9 (down 10.9); NSW 28.3 (down 7.6); and Victoria 26.4 (down 9.7).

Morse said medium-sized firms with up to 200 staff recorded the greatest drop in optimism.

Only 9.2 per cent of large businesses (those with more than 200 staff) will create new jobs in the next three months, a decrease of 7.9 per cent over the previous survey.

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Lauren Thomsen-Moore

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