Demand for tech specialist roles in Australia and New Zealand will continue to rise in 2018 due to increasing workloads across IT departments, according to a report from recruitment consultancy Robert Walters.
Some 52 percent of organisations that participated in the survey expect to increase hiring levels of IT professionals this year, while 35 percent will continue hiring at the same rate.
Meanwhile, around 80 percent of hiring managers expect to see the workload of IT departments get bigger in 2018, while 17 percent expect workloads to be at the same levels.
“IT used to be seen as just a support service by some organisations, but that’s changed dramatically. Technology professionals are now at the heart of every business transformation we see,” Robert Walters New Zealand manager for technology Kavi Rai said.
“Automation specialists are making business processes more efficient, data analysts are improving business decision making, and cyber security specialists are managing and mitigating major risks. This is truly an extraordinary time to work in IT.”
Cybersecurity specialists will be the most in-demand role in 2018, following high-profile security breaches and increased regulatory scrutiny in 2017.
Development and digital specialists is a close second, particularly those with experience in “digital transformation”. Business intelligence and data management professionals round out the top three roles, as more services and products get rebuilt around customer behaviour.
On the other hand, the IT roles with the lowest demand will be in infrastructure, customer relationship management and systems analysis/engineering.
“With overflowing demand in several specialist areas, hiring managers have a tough job on their hands in 2018. If they have lengthy recruitment and selection processes then that task will be even harder,” Robert Walters Australia manager for technology Melissa Brookes said.
“Those who are quick and nimble will have much more success. Managers need to clear the diary and make resourcing their team a priority – and be open and flexible in how they engage with candidates.”
However, the hiring managers are already facing a lack of skilled and experienced candidates available, and finding the right person usually means harder to meet salary expectations.
They are also concerned with lengthy recruitment processes that hamper their ability to move swiftly enough through the recruitment process in their organisations.
Salaries are also expected to go up across various IT departments, with 72 percent expecting increases and only 2 percent expecting declines.
“Having the specialist technical skills is obviously important, but what separates the good technologists from the great ones is management skills and commercial nous,” Robert Walters senior manager for technology Jordan O’Halloran said.
“Employers need IT professionals who can consult and collaborate with colleagues across an organisation, and explain how technology impacts the bottom line. They’re the real game changers.”
The report also delved into the improvements in automation due to artificial intelligence and how it will affect the job market.
It found that 90 percent of the survey’s participants are aware of the impact automation will have on their jobs in the next five years, but added that the urgency of the situation may “not have dawned” on all IT professionals.
Around 78 percent said shifts in automation meant they must upskill to futureproof their careers but only 51 percent had proactively enrolled on courses to do so.
“Automation is the sweet spot where cybersecurity, data science, digital and all the other in-demand IT specialisms intersect. Because it’s still a relatively new area, there is massive opportunity in 2018 for professionals with limited experience to gain exposure,” Robert Walters Sydney director Peter Bateson said.
“Training courses and accreditation are now available, consultancies are embedding automation in organisations and showing IT departments the ropes, and groups of automation specialists are congregating via meetups and conferences.”
In February, job portal Seek.com.au released its own tech jobs report, showing a 22 percent increase in tech job listings in Australia from one year ago, particularly in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales.