Nearly a year after COVID-19 upturned the jobs marketplace, one surprising sector is still struggling to recover.
Despite a national pivot to working from home and the technological challenges that came with it, roles in information and communication technology (ICT) are some of the slowest to return to pre-pandemic levels, reports data from SEEK Australia.
New job ads for the sector reported a decline of 22 per cent between January 2020 and 2021, which encompassed roles like data analysts, software engineers and positions in data security and IT support.
Speaking to news.com.au, SEEK’s Senior Analytics Manager Leigh Broderick said the industry was heavily impacted by the cost-cutting measures businesses were forced to make during COVID-19.
“Investment in IT infrastructure is a significant commitment for most businesses. During COVID businesses had to carefully manage costs and as part of this some IT activities were scaled back or halted,” said Mr Broderick.
“Given the project based nature of ICT work there are a much larger proportion of contract/temporary roles when compared to most other industries. This gives businesses the flexibility to resize their investment in people to meet their project and investment needs.”
Similarly, the large financial investment needed to launch and maintain IT-based projects and their “long pay back periods’’ also strained the industry’s recovery. This meant organisations had to be “confident about the economic recovery before they commit” to hiring staff, said Mr Broderick.
The industry’s large proportion of contract and temporary roles, which is more than any other industry, has also halted its recovery. According to SEEK’s 2020 data, full-time positions accounted for 57.9 per cent, while the remaining 42.1 per cent of positions were
temporary, part-time or casual roles.
“This gives businesses the flexibility to resize their investment in people to meet their project and investment needs,” he said.
State of the jobs
In an analysis of particular roles within industries, jobs in telecommunication and sales were hit hardest, reporting a drop of 27 per cent. Listings for architects (24 per cent), engineering – network (23 per cent), and program and project management positions (22 per cent) have also shown sharp year-on-year declines.
Computer operators (34 per cent), product management and development (9 per cent), testing and quality assurance (7 per cent), team leaders (7 per cent) and engineering – software (2 per cent) are the only roles which have reported an increase in job ads year-on-year.
Path to recovery
Despite its challenges, Mr Broderick said he was confident of the industry’s recovery this year, with positive economic signs like improving business and consumer confidence.
“Although this may be slower in comparison to other industries, there are no significant factors stopping the ICT industry from recovering,” he continued.
“Already job ads on SEEK for the ICT Industry have increased by 8 per cent from January 2021 to February 2021, which is a positive indication that the industry is on the path to recovery.”
This article was created in partnership with SEEK