What hiring managers need to know about the IT jobs market in 2018

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Competition for IT talent will be fiercer than ever in 2018 according to our survey of more than 1,000 technology professionals. To succeed, hiring managers need to plan ahead. 

We asked IT recruitment specialist Jordan O’Halloran to provide an insight into what the technology jobs market will look like in Australia in 2018.

How high up the priority list will technology be for employers in 2018?

At the very top. In every industry sector, organisations are relying upon technology like never before. Technology is ubiquitous. From automating processes with better payroll software, through to more advanced robotic process automation. From protecting businesses from cyber crime, through to using data to predict customer behaviour and optimise supply chain and procurement. Technology now makes decisions that senior leaders in organisations would have made previously. That’s how crucial it has become.

You talk with hiring managers every day. What skills will they be looking for in 2018?

Developers are in more demand than ever. In 2018, hiring managers will be looking for people who can build intuitive device agnostic solutions and engage directly with business stakeholders. 

Data & AI will continue to be significant and we’ll see even more demand for data scientists and big data engineers in 2018.

These are people who can leverage businesses up through cloud-based big data analytics to provide better insight and automate decision making. There’s a shortage of those skills not just in Australia, but worldwide. 

Also, we’re obviously seeing mobile devices used by just about everybody nowadays. So another area of high demand will be IT professionals who can build an intuitive user experience. Whether that's a UX designer or a software developer who specialises in the front-end.

The other area where we’ll see high demand but a shortage of talent is cyber security. In the wake of high-profile breaches around the world, business leaders are painfully aware of the dangers of being vulnerable to a cyber attack. Everyone wants to mitigate cyber risk and make sure their customer data is safe.

Beyond the technical skills, what should hiring managers be looking out for from potential IT recruits?

Technology is driving commerce now, which means IT professionals must understand what makes a business tick. What value do different areas of innovation offer the business? How will a technology improvement affect costs and revenue? IT professionals need to directly answer these questions and speak the same language as other people in the business.

A lot of that comes down to communication. That’s especially important because IT departments generally have flatter people structures now, so technology specialists are managing themselves more. While the ability to work autonomously is important – professionals also have to collaborate and communicate across the organisation. That’s especially the case within Agile environments, which is commonplace across Australia. 

Is demand likely to be higher for contractors or permanent IT professionals?

Much to the surprise of many people, there is an increase in employers looking to hire permanent resources. More and more organisations are going through digital transformations, and they want IT professionals who ‘buy in’ to the strategic direction for a five-to-ten-year period.

That said, businesses are still running projects where they leverage the contingent workforce and bring in consultants to deliver cloud transformations and so forth. So we are seeing IT consultancies grow, but at the same time organisations are also hiring software developers, data scientists, and security people permanently. 

Jordan O’Halloran is Senior Manager, Technology at Robert Walters in Western Australia.


For a comprehensive view of the IT jobs market in 2018, read our whitepaper Technology And Recruitment Landscape: Australia and New Zealand 2018.

Considering contractors? Read our article on the benefits for organisations and candidates.

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