IT contractors "valuable solution" to skills gap

Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

IT contractors "valuable solution" to skills gap

Information technology (IT) contractors “provide a valuable solution to Australia’s IT skills shortage”, according to a new survey.

The survey — commissioned by recruitment agency Robert Half — looked at 160 Australian chief information officers’ (CIOs) views on talent management and job and workplace trends.

Currently, 66% of CIOs regularly hire IT contractors to help with digital transformation projects — with the most in demand roles being IT security specialists, project managers, business intelligence analysts and systems engineers.

Robert Half believes the increased demand for contractors is at least partly due to businesses’ ability to access niche, low-supply skills, such as blockchain, natural language processing or full-stack development on a project basis, while offsetting the higher salaries that specialist skills demand.

“[C]ontract work helps IT professionals become more desirable to employers as it provides exposure to the most advanced IT projects and the latest technology trends, [while helping] the professional gain experience across different teams and industries,” said Robert Half Australia Director Andrew Morris.

This exposure often allows contractors to be more flexible and adaptable, helping them to produce faster results. This is advantageous as rapidly evolving technologies force CIOs to execute strategic projects quickly and efficiently in order to remain competitive, Morris said.

While IT professionals across all age groups recognise the benefits of contracting, Morris believes millennials are most likely to embrace contract opportunities.

“[M]illennials are typically more comfortable with the variable nature of contract work than older generations. Gen Y technology professionals are also attracted to the flexible nature of contracting and the opportunity for accelerated career growth, and are often less concerned about climbing the corporate ladder within the same organisation,” he said.

Despite the high work demand and benefits offered by contracting, “professionals looking to transition away from permanent employment should also take into consideration the potential reduction of job security, loss of non-financial benefits and limited opportunities for advancement within an organisation that contractors may encounter”, Morris concluded.

The report from the survey can be found via Robert Half’s website.

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