Western Australia’s ICT Employment Market Update – Oct, 2018

Here’s the latest Perth ICT industry employment market update to partly help answer the question I’m asked most often “so what’s happening in the market mate”…?

It’s a mix of good, bad and hmpf. The good – new financial year (from July in Australia) continued to show employment and job growth in Perth’s ICT and Digital community. According to online job advertiser Seek, WA job ads are up 2.1% YoY. The bad – we’re facing a growing talent shortage in 2019 and beyond. The hmpf – our rapidly expanding global community is still way off tackling our diversity challenge.

Political changes in Canberra (new Prime Minister, By-Elections etc) had an impact on confidence which has been reflected in some flat numbers in the last couple of months and what can best be described as frustrating “patches of growth” around the market. These political changes may also have an impact on hiring during and post the Federal election in 2019 (predicted to be held in March/April 2019).

The “Moneyball Quarter”

Q1 of a new financial year (July – Sept) for most businesses in Australia is affectionately known as the “Moneyball Quarter.” If you start off strong having hired smart and executed to plan, generally you’ll set up well going into Christmas and the New Year taking advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. It also means you potentially one up your competition and confidently hire more people in December (run a quality process and have new hires serve their notice over Christmas), and hit the ground sprinting (that right,not running) in the New Year. Everyone I know who is accountable for a P&L wants that!

In Western Australia, it’s been fantastic to speak to a number of companies enjoying double digit employee growth over the last 12 months (one WA headquartered firm has grown 72% to 217 employees!). When was the last time you checked out Linkedin for example to see which of your competitors have grown more than 10%?

Unemployment

While we’ve seen growth in jobs advertised in WA’s mining sector, and Rio Tinto investing $2billion in iron ore related projects (WAN, 5/10/18) for example, WA still lags behind the national unemployment average (AU 5.3% vs WA 6.4%. Source: ABS). In the UK unemployment is currently 4.0% and US it’s 3.7% (and falling).

From our perspective (our Uni :Economics 101” studies), we’d prefer this number to be under 5.0% as it provides a better supply vs. demand jobs balance, has stronger projects vs. BAU people demands, and provides the confidence candidates and clients need, to make calculated decisions in a timely manner.

So what IS happening in Australia’s ICT employment market?

Over the last 12 months, the our industry grew by 21.4% or 45000 jobs. The number of people employed nationally grew by 2.5% and the number of jobs increased by 2.8%. So, more jobs vacancies and less competition (aka a talent shortage and “war” for talent looming). If you’re a candidate considering your options, the next 6-18 months should provide a proverbial honey pot of job choice, challenges and new opportunities.

Graph below: Labour demand (Employer job demand) vs. Labour Supply (Candidate Availability) Index.

Australia Western Australia (WA)

You can also appreciate the ‘pain’ WA has experienced since late 2012 when the mining boom stalled. While the gap is narrowing for WA (right graph), we have a little way to go compared to the national average.

A “New Boom” in Western Australia please

There’s always a time and place for a boom market cycle. But it’s fair to say most people we speak with are looking forward to a ‘new boom’ in the next cycle, wanting other industry sectors aside from mining and resources sharing the heavy GDP lifting (energy, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, education, technology etc). Capex is great (and ticking up according to the ABS), and we want it, just spread across a few more sectors please!

Graph below: Focus of new mining hiring is focused on Opex vs Capex.

The rise of the ‘Fulltimer’ in Western Australia

Nationally, employment is growing (good), however we’ve also had a rise in underemployment. Of job advert type (casual, PT, FT etc), full time work market share is declining nationally. You may know several people who have two or more jobs to help supplement their income. WA is bucking this national trend with demand for FT roles increasing for the time being.

At Beacham Group, we’ve seen a growth in permanent information technology employment vacancies in the last 6 months compared to contract as WA business confidence grows.

Graph below: In WA, we’re just a little different with full time work as a share of work type increasing (FT/PT/Casual/Gig etc) in the last 12-months.

Wage Growth. “So where bloody hell are you?”

Our Australian Inflation rate is currently 2.1%. The one thing our Pollies, Employers and Employees are all acutely aware of, is the brutal fact of flat national wage growth over the last few years. In WA, we’re still in negative territory (Inflation 2.1% vs WA wage growth of 1.4%. Neg -0.7%).

Our counsel to candidates has always been to work smart, work hard, across all market cycles to help future proof your career. A rewarding career in tech is a marathon not a sprint. And earning $1 is far better than $0.

Graph below: Western Australia is battling with negative real wage growth ( -0.7%.)

Graph below: Of WA’s wage growth, our science and technology sectors have been one of the top 5 performers in the last 12 months (Jul 17-18). Know any lawyers or accountants crying poor!

Show me the mobile!

Hiring or want to be hired? It’s no surprise that candidates are increasingly searching for jobs, applying and researching your employer value proposition (EVP) etc on a mobile device.

If you’re a candidate, you still need to be smart about how you do this (you get one shot to get it right) and provide relevant, accurate, and quality information with your job application. And of course follow up – plenty of applications go into employer application processes that are the communication black (or blue screen of death) hole!

If you’re a hiring manager, ensure your job ads are written well to attract and not filter / screen prospective employees (try not to simply regurgitate your position description). Do you have an awesome careers page on your company website and an effective marketing team that builds your employer brand the right way?

Are you hiring smarter for the workplaces of the future?

Are there any Women in IT?

Yes, but far too little. We have big diversity challenges ahead unless everyone in Australia’s ICT community works hard to encourage more females when they are kids, tweens, teenagers, young adults, adults, mature adults, retirees etc (you get the picture!) into the sector.

You can help. Accountants, Lawyers and other vocations have over a 50% split. ICT can too. Please make a conscious decision at every opportunity to proudly talk about the impact ICT and digital has had on your life and on the global community. The future of the industry is very bright (below is a link to the Australian Computer Society Digital Pulse report 2018). Over 10% of Australia’s GDP will come from Tech in the next 10 years for example – and it’s a big number!

Graph below: Less than 20% of people looking for new employment in the ICT sector are female. Imagine if the split was well over 25% by 2025…?

What ICT positions are hard to fill?

There is a shift starting to build over the last few quarters as we move from BAU (business as usual, just keeping the lights on stuff) to more project and growth focused work. Architects, PM’s, BA’s and SME’s (subject matter experts) are growing in demand.

If you still have past emails of our last few newsletters, you’ll see a few interesting changes if you compared job title type demand…

Graph Below: ICT positions hardest to fill Australia VS Western Australia in the last 12 months

What’s on in Q2, 2018?

October to December is a busy period for everyone combining great work and festive play. We’re out of our winter slumber with spring in the air, and Perth’s rooftop bars get a good workout for example. Melbourne Cup and various Christmas parties make up the social calendar as do several startup and most importantly charity events (for more detail on these, please check out the various online event calendars, including ours!).

We are likely to see a further continuation of job growth into the New Year, but the West Australian ICT employment market still has its challenges and we’re a quarter or three until we are well out of the woods

As always, if you would like more specific information about this blog or how you can always be an in-demand employer, please get in touch.

If you’re a candidate and want to learn how to future proof your rewarding career in ICT, please get in touch. We’re here to help!