ICT Trends Article March 2015: The Market's Thirst for Skills

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1 ICT Trends Market Demand IT Sector Skill Demand The NZ Heralds headline More jobs than candidates (Thursday 19 March) for the MBIE Jobs Online report for February 2015 highlights the growing problem for NZ of skill shortages in a number of occupation groups. The demand for ICT Support and Test Engineers tabulated under the heading fastest growing occupations for professionals, grew by 13 percent over the year February 2014 to February 2015. Vacancies currently listed for these skills on the Seek ICT job advert website include; ICT Support; 74 Test Engineer; 192 Test (all categories ranging from Graduate test Analyst to Automation Engineer); 302 Test & Quality Assurance; 159. A regional breakdown of this number reveals that; o Auckland has 89 vacancies (56 percent) o Wellington and Canterbury each have 32 vacancies (20 percent) Overall growth in skilled vacancies in the Canterbury region was enhanced by the increase associated with IT industries, up 1.4 percent. Hiring Expectations The Hudson 2015 Quarter 2 report states that employer hiring sentiment is at its highest level in 6 years with employment in Wellington on the increase, led by the resumption of large Government transformation projects. Figure 4 illustrates an increase of 12 percent for Seek ICT job adverts for Wellington for the February March period, 4 percent ahead of Canterbury, possibly underscoring the impact of major Government ICT projects. The report also asserts that ICT hiring managers intend to increase permanent headcount by a net 36 percent and contract roles by a net 20 percent to satisfy an increase in demand for roles related to business process *(442 Seek ICT job adverts - all categories) and enhancing the customer experience *(761 Seek ICT job adverts all categories). *Accessed on the 20th March. Skills in Demand New technologies and shifts in business processes and priorities are impacting on the in-demand skills required of ICT employees, according to a recent Australian TechRepublic article. Companies are faced with unique IT hiring challenges with the growth of new disciplines like big data and the impending retirement of legions of highly skilled baby boomers. This is forcing them to re-evaluate the skills they are looking for in IT job candidates including: Librarian (science) expertise; aggregating and analysing big data Musical talent; Music, like programming, can be a highly mathematical and logical exercise Strong oral and written skills; no surprises here as an emphasis on soft skills has always been to the fore, also comprising; o Creative problem solving; an ability to think beyond the box and come up with fresh approaches o A can-do attitude; an ability to solve difficult problems o Negotiation skills; an ability to broker successful business relationships o Coolness under pressure when faced with seemingly intractable problems Foreign language skills; with many of today's ICT/software companies operating globally job candidates who are able to interact in multiple languages are highly sought Mainframe skills; really? Mainframes still account for more than 60% of the world's enterprise transactions. As concerns grow over the so-called "mainframe brain drain" a growing number of colleges and universities worldwide now teach mainframe technology in their IT curricula and are reporting 100 percent job placement of graduates 2 Skills in voice-based applications; with voice apps beginning to assume major roles in operations like warehousing and distribution companies need IT workers who can understand and write voice-based applications Seek ICT Job Adverts Seek ICT job adverts for all NZ for March are up slightly by 1 percent on February figures, but are down significantly by 9.4 percent on this time last year (Fig.1). Fig.1 Seek ICT Job Adverts Monthly Trends 2010 2015 (March) The number of IT job adverts on Trademe are down by 3.8 percent on March 2014, but have increased by 10.8 percent on last months figures (Fig.2). Fig.2 Seek ICT & Trademe IT Job Advert Trends to March 2015 3 Seek ICT regional job adverts for Auckland and Wellington are well behind the March 2014 figures, down 15.7 percent and 10.5 percent respectively. Canterbury is the new powerhouse for ICT jobs, up 43 percent on this time last year with an 8 percent increase on last month. (Refer fig.4 for specific numbers). Aucklands 4.5 percent decrease for the month may be an indication that a government campaign to reverse the Australian brain drain is starting to have a positive impact on addressing the demand for ICT skills. With a new annual high of 55,000 more people arriving in New Zealand than leaving (Stuff.co.nz), many from India and China, employers potentially have a fresh pool of ICT skills to draw on. Fig.3 Seek ICT Job Advert Trends Monthly Change for March 2015 Figure 4 provides a detailed record of the Seek ICT job advert trends by region to March 2015. Fig.4 Seek ICT Job Advert Monthly Trends to March 2015 Conclusion The NZ ICT job market continues to deliver a positive message for job seekers with employer hiring sentiment at its highest level in 6 years and the regional demand for specific skill sets growing, especially in Wellington and Canterbury. 4 News Bytes: A to Z Australia TechRepublic: 10 surprising skills that will give IT job seekers the edge Companies around the world are facing unique IT hiring challenges, with the growth of new disciplines like big data and the impending retirement of legions of highly skilled baby boomers. Australia The Australian: Its Code Red for a Robot Regime Around the world, computer science is rapidly becoming a degree of choice as students realise how valuable computational thinking (the ability to algorithmically solve complex problems at scale) will be for jobseekers in the 21st century. NZ Concern over gaps in NZ maths tuition Spatial thinking is central to engineering, architecture, art, robotics, surveying, computer science, medical advances such as CT scans and many more areas. NZ Stuff.co.nz, Business Day: Migration still booming in February The migration boom is rolling on, hitting a new annual high of 55,000 more people arriving in New Zealand than leaving. NZ NZ Herald: More jobs than candidates Michael Barnett-400 to 500 ICT sector jobs that could be filled at varying levels right now in Auckland. SA ITWeb: Brainstorm Skills Initiative Kicks Off A dearth of ICT skills hampers SA's ability to compete internationally, and with less than 5% of high schools offering IT as a subject, there is little ability to address this shortage. SA Neotel: Delivers Maths Lab at Willowvale, with King Sigcau to bridge education divide The Maths Lab is an ICT-enabled laboratory with state-of-the-art technology, providing learners with the opportunity to explore mathematical concepts and verify mathematical facts and theorems using technology and manipulative tools. UK Staffordshire Newsletter: Stafford College boosts skills with academy partnerships The academy has been launched at the same time as research from City & Guilds reveals that three quarters of employers in the IT, digital and information services sector were facing skills shortages. USA Computerworld: Future-proof your IT career: 8 tech areas that will still be hot in 2020 Its prudent for IT pros to cultivate skills that are in high demand. Even better are skills that will stay in demand.