Demand for staff is expected to increase this calendar year, as resellers and systems integrators move back to pre-recession staffing levels, according to Hudson Recruitment’s director of ICT, John Coventry.
But Coventry warns that the liquidity in the market means employers will need to work harder to retain staff. "Hiring is an expensive exercise and high performers tend to be highly motivated,” he notes. "One of the performance drivers of high performers is that they want to do that job and they are motivated by the work they’re being asked to do.”
Coventry says industry high performers are looking to improve their skills and be involved with the latest technologies. "And they’ll look elsewhere to find it if they have to.”
Pay and rewards was listed behind career development in a Hudson retention survey last year, followed by work/life balance. "One of the things the global financial crisis did for employees was that it forced some organisations to have nine-day fortnights and created more work/life balance. Once people get used to the lifestyle, they often don’t want to go back [to 10 day fortnights].”
Coventry says this calendar year has already seen in increase in demand for staff for resellers and systems integrators. "And it’s not that companies are looking to replace staff that have moved on, or that they’re trying to focus on new markets. Instead, it seems to be a pick up in demand for people to get back to pre-GFC staffing levels.”
The recent Hudson Report on New Zealand Employment Expectations says a net 22% of 1151 Kiwi employers, across a range of industries, intending to increase permanent staffing levels in the July to September quarter – an increase of two percentage points on the previous quarter. Hiring intentions for the contracting/temporary workforce are down 2.8pp, to 12.4%, quarter on quarter – the lowest level of sentiment recorded for the past five quarters. Six out of 10 employers are planning to hold their numbers of contracting/temporary staff steady.
Coventry says the ICT industry is second to construction – where growth has been spurred by the Christchurch earthquakes with the report showing the IT industry is recovering following a sizeable softening during the first six months of this year. It also highlights that 56.2% of employers surveyed in the sector plan to increase permanent headcount during the upcoming quarter, indicating a lot of liquidity in the market. Another 37% plan to hold their current headcount steady.
The report notes that several larger, national companies are midway through transition projects and there is strong demand for ‘mid-lifecycle’ roles such as business analysts and testers. In Christchurch, there is demand for all levels of experience and specialisation as businesses need to get systems back up and running in the context of damage, temporary relocations and rebuilding.
Coventry says the Employment Expectations result contain another message for resellers and systems integrators, who need to understand ‘the implications of the wider challenge of selling their product’ and whether integrating the product is going to cause issues for resource-strapped IT departments, who may not have the staff to cope.
"You need to think through the integration aspects and resourcing elements and off-set that resourcing challenge [being faced by IT departments].”
Hudson’s confidence in the IT market is such that the company added six staff to its ICT practice in Auckland and Wellington in June.