The head of a leading Western Australian specialist IT recruitment company describes reports of a slump in hiring across the IT profession in WA as widely exaggerated.
Paul Mackin Brown, the General Manager of Talent International observes that it is a mistake to generalise about the WA IT market, and in particular the resources sector, which is still experiencing healthy levels of demand for skilled IT professionals.
Mr Mackin Brown explains that year-on-year growth in IT contractor numbers placed by their Perth office among major resources and mining clients has risen by almost 150%, with the recruitment company having placed about 250 specialist IT contractors in these segments in the past twelve months.
This compares with growth of about 130% in IT contractor numbers placed by the company outside the resources sector.
While acknowledging that the resources boom was cooling, Mr Mackin Brown points out that IT jobs are still plentiful because the big resources companies are moving out of a protracted period of engineering, procurement and construction management to new types of projects and platforms. Several IT professionals are also taking advantage of the demand in the LNG sector.
Demand is especially strong in the oil and gas sector. Over the past 18 months Perth has welcomed several new players to the market who have received significant investment and are at the planning/ construction phase of their respective projects. The demand for IT resources on these projects has gone a long way to offset any decrease in demand from other high profile projects that are transitioning from construction to production.
Several clients in the resources sector are using the transition phase as an opportunity to evaluate legacy platforms and processes, creating new opportunities for skilled IT professionals. An increased focus on efficiency and optimisation projects has created a spike in demand for high-level service delivery professionals and organisational change management specialists.
Though there had been some downward pressure on pay rates for IT contractors and permanent staff, it was more of a market correction that inevitably followed a period of incremental rises in remuneration.