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Mixed messages on the IT labour market

by Staff Writers •
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While Intermedium’s data shows a continuation of the downturn in ICT labour hire contracts in the Federal market, other reports paint varying pictures of the demand for ICT skills.

The Olivier Index for October showed advertised IT vacancies down 2.3 percent in October, taking the yearly decline to almost 23 percent. According to Olivier, while the IT sector was down in October, it performed better than overall job advertisements which were down 4.4 percent in the month, a decline of 6.1 percent from the same month last year.

In the same week, the EL Index showed an overall increase in the IT sector. El Consulting also reported a significant increase in executive employment in the government sector during October, suggesting it came from booming government hiring, responding to a raft of federal stimulatory initiatives.

Unlike the above indices that rely on advertised vacancies, Intermedium’s research data on the Federal Government ICT labour hire market is based on published contracts data. Therefore, it provides a more accurate picture of the hiring of ICT contractors by Federal agencies.

Intermedium's annual report on the Federal Government ICT labour hire market (2007-08 Federal ICT Labour Hire Report) showed the value of contracts was down around 25 percent on the previous year, and the average contract value was down more than $13,600.

More recent data suggests the market has still not “bottomed out”. Intermedium’s Labour Hire report for Q1 2008-09 (July-September 2008) shows the value of labour hire contracts reported by Federal agencies was down 35% on the same period in the previous year.

However there are some good signs amongst the figures in the Intermedium report. In July 2008 (the peak month for labour hire contracts), the number of contracts was marginally higher that the number in July 2007.

Intermedium’s Q1 2008-09 Labour Hire report is published this week.

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