25 May The State of the Tech Job Market: Now and Looking Ahead
With the full economic impact of COVID-19 beginning to reveal itself, it seems that no industry is immune to the fallout – and Technology is no exception. Whilst there is still a lot of uncertainty around the outlook for the coming months, it’s also clear that Tech has not experienced the same challenges that many other sectors have and we are on the cusp of a (gradual) rebound.
So, as Australia pushes to kickstart the economy in the wake of COVID-19, how are the Technology job markets in Canberra and Brisbane shaping up, and what can jobseekers do to give themselves a much-needed edge in this unpredictable environment?
Market Insight: A Mixed Picture
With two offices serving two quite different markets, it’s hardly surprising that the current outlook is mixed.
Canberra is a tech town and we’ve hardly missed a beat where public sector jobs are concerned. Federal Government departments have responded swiftly to manage the impact of COVID-19 and it has been fantastic to see technology at the forefront of various initiatives, including the implementation of the JobKeeper Payment scheme by the ATO, and various initiatives across the Health and Human Services portfolios.
We’ve obviously seen a reprioritisation of some projects, but there is still a lot of new project activity and, unusually, very few contractors are moving to other opportunities, which is contributing to an ongoing increase in demand. In fact, departments have been proactive in organising extensions this year, so we are ahead of our game compared to 2019, but I’m sure we’ll feel the effects of the government deficit further down the track. In my view, however, that is still a year or two off and I don’t believe it will have major consequences for Technology.
Canberra’s private sector, meanwhile, has taken somewhat of a hit. We are finding that systems integrators are still recruiting, but our tech vendor clients, many of whom are global operators, are telling us that they’re feeling the pain of economic uncertainty.
In Queensland, we have seen a slowdown in terms of new requirements and an influx of IT professionals on the market from companies such as Virgin Australia and Flight Centre, but the tide is beginning to turn. The market is showing early signs of recovery and there has been noticeably more positivity in the last couple of weeks, including a significant number of vacancies registered just this week. Speaking with our Queensland Director, Heath, he is confident that this will continue to increase as restrictions ease and schools return.
Overall, it’s a strange employment market compared to other downturns, although there is no doubt less jobs available, candidates in roles are very cautious about leaving. Where you would expect organisations that are doing well to have their pick of talent, it’s interesting that candidates who are feeling anywhere near secure in current roles are reluctant to be making a change. If you’re in a hiring position it is imperative that you go the extra mile in terms of marketing yourself as a stable employer of choice, as candidates have more to consider when weighing up any move.
Finding a Job in Today’s Market
With unemployment expected to spike over the next few months and hiring activity not yet recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels, some areas of the Brisbane and Canberra job markets will be more competitive than ever, whilst others will continue to be tight as hiring managers with limited budgets are compelled to find someone that ticks every box.
If you have been unfortunate enough to lose your job during this time, here are some actionable steps you can take to position yourself for success during an unpredictable and challenging season:
- Tailor your resume to a specific skill set or role. We find that our clients are after specialised skills sets so this will help you get a foot in the door.
- Ensure you are active on social media, especially LinkedIn. If you haven’t already, brush up your profile to reflect your skills and experience and follow organisations you are interested in.
- Actively engage with 3-4 recruitment agencies that specialise in roles in your chosen market. By building relationships with them, you’ll not only gain insights into the market, but you are also likely to spring to mind when a suitable opportunity comes in.
- Market your soft skills as well as your technical ability. In Development roles, for example, we are seeing an increasing demand for people who are confident communicators and collaborative team players.
And remember, you don’t have to go it alone – our team are happy to give you advice on your next career step and help tailor your resume to specific opportunities.
Whilst there is uncertainty around the job market right now, especially in the private sector, Technology jobs are still available. And with the economy set to open over the next few months, I believe we will see more opportunities for qualified IT professionals in both Canberra and Brisbane. Those who spend this time networking, building a social presence and brushing up their resumes are likely to see their efforts rewarded sooner rather than later.
To talk about your next contract assignment or permanent role in Canberra or Brisbane, reach out to us to set up a time for a coffee – we’re here to help you navigate the challenges of this unprecedented period.