The quarterly SkillsMatch ICT Skills Dashboard, released by ITCRA (Information Technology Contract and Recruitment Association Ltd shows that the ICT labour market in Australia has contracted, with the number of suitable candidates for each role falling in the second quarter of 2012.


However, while there are fewer candidates in the market, the candidates who are available have more of the skills that employers require.


ITCRA’s quarterly SkillsMatch Dashboard shows that there were, on average, six suitable candidates for each role advertised in the second quarter of 2012, dropping from the peak of eight available candidates in the first quarter of 2012.


According to Julie Mills, CEO of ITCRA, the drop in the number of suitable candidates reflects a drop in participation rate in the overall Australian labour market.


“The most recent ABS labour market data showed the participation rate was down to 65.2 per cent, from 65.4 per cent in May, and the SkillsMatch data reflects this,” said Ms Mills.


“Interestingly, despite the drop in the number of suitable candidates, the availability of candidates with in-demand skills has risen, indicating there has been a further aligning of the ICT skills market. Candidates are now offering six of the top ten skills employers are looking for, up from five of the top ten in the first quarter of 2012, and well above the 2011 low, where only two of the top ten requested skills were available,” she said.


“The increase in candidates with skills that employers need indicates that the skills mismatch is continuing to ease as job seekers are becoming more responsive to demand in the market.”


Ms Mills said some skills sets continue to remain elusive.


“SAP, 3G Modelling Systems, Infrastructure and Testing have all been in the top ten skills in demand since the start of 2012, and have not yet made the top ten available skills,” said Ms Mills.


“3G Modelling Systems skills were hardest to find, with only 23 per cent of roles requiring this skill being filled in the second quarter. Although this is up 10 per cent from last quarter, it remains an area of opportunity for job seekers if they are willing to retrain,” she said.


ITCRA’s SkillsMatch also shows that 73 per cent of ICT placements made in the second quarter of 2012 were for contract roles, while only a third were for permanent roles.


“The growing split between contract roles and permanent positions is a function of a nervous market being affected by global economic uncertainty. Many companies are reluctant to hire permanently in this environment, and continue to look for contractors for most ICT projects,” said Ms Mills.