Thursday, 30 May 2013

Australian IT recruitment profitability falls

A recruitment industry benchmarking report in Australia and New Zealand shows a weak quarter for the industry between January and March this year with profitability across the sector plummeting 53 percent on the same quarter last year. This is according to the latest research by the IT Contract and Recruitment Association (ITCRA).

Ten percent of ITCRA members contribute data to the results, showing tough trading conditions in the information and communication technology recruitment sector. The negative trend for contributing recruitment firms has been ongoing with five of the last six quarters having seen a fall in profit.

The two key underlying measures of current market activity appear to be the number of contractor hours and the number of permanent placements. The recruitment industry benchmarking report average has fallen 9 percent and the information and communication technology sector has fallen 5 percent on last year on hours processed through the payroll.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A10 Networks and DNA partner to expand the channel in ANZ

A10 Networks™, leader in Application Networking, announced today the appointment of Digital Networks Australia (DNA) as an authorised distributor for the Australian and New Zealand region. The partnership will allow A10 Networks to grow its network of value added channel partners, and accelerate market penetration.

A10 Networks and DNA will jointly implement channel development and marketing programs focused on recruiting new channel partners and accelerating business growth for existing partners.

Munsoor Khan, Director of DNA, said: "We’re pleased to be appointed as A10 Networks' Value Added Distributor in this region and look forward to offering their full range of Application Networking solutions to our channel partners and clients. Our new relationship with A10 plays to our key strengths of providing high quality network infrastructure, security and intelligence solutions."

He said DNA has substantial experience of working with fast-growing vendors and a clear view of what support they need. Initially DNA engineers will be certified on A10 Networks’ technology, then these qualified people will be used to enable channel partners. Finally workshop sessions will be held to ensure that DNA’s partners are ready to work with customers.

“We plan to work very closely with A10 Networks to generate end user leads for the channel, by running workshops, road shows and raising awareness in the marketplace of what the company has to offer.”

Hayato Koeda, President & CEO for A10 Networks KK, and Vice President of South APAC, said: "DNA’s strong channel experience, expertise and high level technical support will allow A10 to accelerate our expansion in the Australian and New Zealand markets. We are confident that the partnership will be a success, and anticipate rapid and continuing business growth.”

About A10 Networks 

A10 Networks was founded in Q4 2004 with a mission to provide innovative networking and security solutions. A10 Networks makes high-performance products that help organisations to accelerate, optimise and secure their applications. A10 Networks is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices in the United States, United Kingdom, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia and Singapore. For more information, visit:

Monday, 15 April 2013

Turnaround seen in tech job market

THE technology employment sector is expected to strengthen in the second quarter, with hiring experts forecasting a turnaround in the market.

Hays senior regional director Peter Noblet said "positivity and growth" would return in Q2.

"We are seeing definite signs of activity in the market right now," he said. "We are predicting that there will be some fairly hefty movement within the jobs market in IT in the coming quarter."

The latest quarterly report from recruitment firm Hays sees a range of demand hotspots for IT skills.

It singles out demand for ASP.NET developers, ERP project and program managers, Microsoft business intelligence staff, SharePoint Developers and .NET developers.

Mr Noblet said senior systems engineers with strong Citrix skills, MS Exchange and SharePoint knowledge were also required. Helpdesk entry-level candidates and Citrix and VMware professionals were also sought after.

While federal government had been slowing down, it was still considered "pretty good", he said.

The public sector roles most in demand were infrastructure specialists, application packagers, cloud computing specialists, data centre architects and transition specialists.

Mr Noblet said in the Hays business there had been a 5 to 10 per cent lift in jobs registered in the past month compared with the previous month.

"The great unknown at the moment is the election coming up later on in the year and whether companies will still wait to see what happens there before heavily investing," he said.

Hudson ICT national practice director Martin Retschko said hiring intentions had improved in the last three months, up 4.8 percentage points for April to June.

"The IT industry itself also has the most positive hiring expectations of any sector," he said.

At this time last year, the IT industry had the second most positive outlook, after the resources sector, according to Hudson ICT.

"We've seen the rate of growth in the resources sector slow a little over the last 12 months as the economic environment has tightened," Mr Retschko said. "However, ICT has remained quite solid over this period as businesses look towards technology solutions in their business transformation projects."

He said there was a genuine demand for IT roles to support business transformation and IT outsourcing initiatives.

"Nationally, the need to closely align IT with the business is keeping demand high for enterprise architects," he said. "Key growth areas include cloud computing experts, relationship managers, mobile app developers and digital specialists."

Clicks IT Recruitment managing director Ben Wood expected the April to June quarter to improve on the first quarter. "The demand for IT people will steadily pick up through 2013," he said.

The recently released Clicks Recruitment and Retention Report, which surveyed 200 large-scale organisations, found stronger demand for contract labour this year.

"In a tough market, the demand for contractors leads the way out of the downturn," Mr Wood said.

"We are seeing 70 per cent of respondents saying that they will use the same or more contractors than they did last year and that is up from 64 per cent last year."

But he said the growth in the market this year would be gradual rather than a dramatic increase.

"The market has bottomed," Mr Wood said. "I'd say in six months' time we will look back at the last quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 and say it was around that time that we started seeing things turn."

Spark Recruitment director Luke Singleton agreed the market appeared to have lifted since mid-February.

"We expect that there will be continued hiring through the April to June quarter, but predict that the market will become more constrained the closer we get to the end of financial year."

He said employers were being cautious with their hiring spend and were waiting for the "perfect" candidate rather than hiring people that they needed to train or develop.

"This is particularly prevalent in the permanent market," he said.

"Contracting is still very much in flavour and we are seeing long-term, up to 12-month, engagements being offered."

Mr Singleton said the level of work in the market was consistent with the same time last year, but hiring processes had become more complex and the time to hire had extended.

"We believe that the current market conditions are here to stay for the next six to 12 months," he said.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

More Seasonal Workers Bound for Australia

At least 20 additional seasonal workers from Solomon Islands, including 3 females and 17 males have been recruited under the Labour Mobility Scheme to work in Australia’s horticulture industry.

The workers are expected to leave for Australia later this month following their successful selection by a recruitment agent - the SLN Business Solutions.

SLN Business Solution’s knowledge and understanding of the Australian market makes it easier to find employment opportunities for unskilled workers from Solomon Islands.

During a briefing with the workers in Honiara, Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Bernard Bata’anisia encouraged the workers to become good ambassadors of Solomon Islands as they begin their employment in a foreign country.

“The country expects from you total commitment, good behavior, professionalism and dedication while you are out there in Australia. You must respect and obey the laws of Australia and not to do anything that might be detrimental to your work and stay in Australia,” Mr Bata’anisia told the workers.

He said the challenge and responsibility before them are huge as the workers are going to a foreign country with different cultures, background and way of life.

“For all of you, there might be culture shock or other challenges you may face on the ground. But I urge you to maintain calm and focus on your goal and the reason why you are going to Australia and that is to work with your employer and perform to the best of your ability. Show them the skills and talents that you have and demonstrate that that we can also do the job well,” Mr Bata’anisia

Solomon Islands already have seasonal workers in New Zealand and Australia where they have already earned the respect and trust from the various employers in the two countries.

The workers were challenged to maintain that standard and professionalism and not to bring it into disrepute.

“The continued success of our future employment in Australia and New Zealand depends on your performance, dedication and professionalism in your work,” the workers were told.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, through the Labour Mobility Unit will continue to work in this important area in looking for opportunities for Solomon Islanders in the seasonal workers scheme in both Australia and New Zealand.

This will be done in close partnership with the Agents in Solomon Islands, in Australia and New Zealand as well as with the Governments of the two countries.

Monday, 1 April 2013

457 visas about union control

EVEN though Julia Gillard's comments against 457 visa workers have horrible undertones of historical Labor racism, they aren't racist. Instead Labor, in my opinion, is involved in an old-fashioned protection racket of entrenched power and money.

It's federal Labor demonstrating it's a sibling of the "rotten throughout" NSW Labor.

It was Labor prime minister Edmund Barton who introduced the shameful White Australia policy in 1901. Then as now, foreign worker restrictions were introduced at the behest of unions seeking to protect jobs.

Then as now unemployment was low. But in 1901 union density was soaring towards 50 per cent of the workforce. Today less than 13 per cent of the private sector workforce is unionised.

Labor's job protection racket no longer relates to protecting the jobs of workers but protecting the jobs, influence and power of the union powerbrokers.

The power of today's unions rests in the leverage and control they exercise over businesses, and the economy, through the Fair Work Act. Foreign workers undermine this control.

Legislative requirements ensure that 457 workers cannot be underpaid. Minimum rates are largely tied to award rates and related conditions. But this doesn't serve union purposes.

The trick with union power today is that the Fair Work Act effectively allows unions to bludgeon strategically incompetent business managers into entering bad enterprise agreements. This happens on a grand scale particularly with big businesses. Clauses in agreements neuter managers by requiring them to seek union approval for major and minor decisions.

With control of managers, unions turn to the workforce with very convincing reasons as to why they should join. Basically, if you want a job, you'll join! Through this process unions control worker recruitment and jobs. This has been the key process enabling unions to re-enter the mining sector, for example.

Even the unions' decade-long enemy, Rio Tinto, has wilted and become "union friendly".

But foreign workers undermine this. Access to 457 workers maintains an alternative route to worker recruitment that is more "market" based. Ex-immigration minister Chris Bowen enraged unions by giving 457 approvals to Gina Rinehart's Roy Hill development in Western Australia. Bowen's demotion has removed this problem for unions.

New Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor is "fixing" the issue for unions. First he's demonised foreign workers with the Prime Minister's loud support. Next will be the restriction of foreign worker entry in selected areas of union interest.

This will artificially induce a shortage of key labour skills and entrench business managers' reliance on unions for recruitment. Unions will push up pay rates in critical areas, solidifying the inducement for membership.

It's brilliant stuff by Labor. In government it openly and shamelessly uses the law to create institutional power for its elite backers. It's a technique in open display across many policy areas under Gillard.

Ultimately, it can be highly corrupting. Laws are tweaked to favour the rent-seekers. One sort of favour can lead to other sorts of favours and then to the sorts of scandals being exposed in ICAC and Labor furiously trying to protect its brand.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The 20 companies most Aussies want to work for

IF you could work anywhere in the country, where would you choose?

The most popular answer for Australians is the ABC, according to recruitment firm Randstad.

It bumped last year's winner Virgin Australia from top spot at the 2013 Randstad Awards, with defence and security company BAE Systems coming in third.

The awards measure the perceived attractiveness of Australia's major employers using a survey of 7000 active job seekers.

The ABC, which won second place last year, ranked highly among Australians for its offer of interesting job content, learning and development opportunities, long term job security, workplace culture and work-life balance.

The most attractive industry according to job seekers is the aviation industry, which often scores highly due to perceived benefits like cheaper flights. Virgin Australia and Qantas both ranked in the top five attractive employers.

Mining and resources is the second most attractive sector, with fast moving consumer goods ranked third.

This year Federal Government departments were included in the research for the first time, with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the Department of Health and Ageing, the Department of Defence and Australia Post all making the top 20.

The survey showed the most important factor when considering an employer was competitive salary and benefits (20 per cent), followed by long-term job security (17 per cent), good work-life balance (11 per cent) and interesting job content (9 per cent).

Randstad managing director Deb Loveridge said this year Australian workers wanted to be recognised and rewarded for hard work and loyalty through better salary and benefits, rather than job security which was a major concern in 2012.

"With people increasingly looking for employers who will reward their efforts and contribution to the organisation, being viewed as an employer who cares for and invests in their people has never been more important to secure and retain top talent in the years ahead," Ms Loveridge said.

The research also found men prefer financially healthy organisations with strong management that offer career prospects and learning opportunities, whereas women look more for flexible working arrangements, accessibility and good work-life balance.

Randstad Award winners 2013 (amongst respondents who know the company, the percentage that would like to work for the company):

ABC - 47 per cent
Virgin Australia - 44 per cent
BAE Systems - 42 per cent
Channel Seven - 42 per cent
Qantas - 41 per cent
Department of Immigration & Citizenship - 41 per cent
Department of Health & Ageing - 41 per cent
Newcrest Mining - 40 per cent
Coca-Cola Amatil - 40 per cent
GHD - 40 per cent
Department of Defence - 40 per cent
Australia Post - 39 per cent
Rio Tinto - 39 per cent
Wesfarmers - 39 per cent
WorleyParsons - 38 per cent
BHP - 36 per cent
Nestle - 35 per cent
Lion - 34 per cent
Westfield - 34 per cent
Computershare - 34 per cent

Monday, 25 March 2013

Is a university degree still relevant?

Earlier this month, Universities Australia released a report from "The Australian Workforce Productivity Agency" warning that the industry demand for people with higher education is set to sky rocket with growth rates of between 3 and 4 per cent every year till 2025.

Yet with so much evolution in the work place and the technologies that are running them, should a degree still be a definitive requirement or has it become more industry specific?

Ten years ago more than 50% of Australians wouldn't have been able to read this article online due to Internet access constraints. Twenty years ago, stories like this were typed on electric typewriters and faxed to editors, while 30 years ago the yellow pages was the number one source to find the phone numbers for people to interview. Times have changed... drastically.

There are still plenty of people in the work force who would have completed their university studies 20 - 30 years ago, a time before tablets, Google and smart phones, a time when you got a bad back from lugging around the fourth edition of a 10 kg textbook or writing your thesis from facts you found in your Encyclopaedia Britannica that took up an entire wall of your house.

According to many employers or if you check out the latest job listings, it's clear, a degree is still a big desire, even though they could have come fresh off the printing press when a mullet was something on your head, not on your plate and a mouse was something that ate cheese.

Of course if your life long dream is to be a scientist or a vet or a lawyer, higher education is not just necessary it's imperative to ensure you learn the knowledge required to execute these types of positions.

But for many other industries where "hard skills" are required to get the job done is university always the right way to go?

Lincoln Crawley, the Managing Director of Manpower Group Australia, New Zealand as well as the President of RSCA (Recruitment and Consultant Services Association) says in the Australian job market a degree is still an advantage.

"This is a complex issue, what is appealing to prospective employers is that a degree gives the impression of a desire for continuous learning" says Crawley.

So if Crawley was presented with two candidates with similar abilities however one has a degree and the other doesn't who usually gets the job? "If two candidates are all things being relatively equal, then it should be the propensity to do the role and add value to the work place that wins the position not the pieces of paper," he says.

At the time this article was written, a number of universities and Universities Australia were approached to comment on this issue from a Tertiary standpoint, but given the current revolving door of Ministers (Chris Bowen's replacement will be the fifth in 15 months) and the aftermath of the spill, no one was available to comment.
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Do those extra letters after your name really get you those extra dollars in your pay packet? Does a degree place you in a position of power and strength in the job market or can it just another form of workplace discrimination?

Most people see the advantage of further education and the pursuit of constant learning, but not everybody believes you always need a piece of paper to prove it.