Attitude over skills for IT

by 26 Jun 2007

AS DEMAND for IT staff in Australia shows no signs of decreasing, HR professionals must challenge the existing preconceptions about what is essentially needed to get the job done, according to a recruitment expert.

Over the past month, demand for ICT professionals has reached an all time high of over 30,000 vacancies across the country.

“Across all sectors of the Australian industry, there is a significant need for skilled IT professionals. And since the beginning of 2007, Best International Group’s IT Talent Index has shown that demand for permanent employees has averaged at around 66 per cent each month,” said John McVicker, managing director of the Best International Group.

As the industry continues to pick up speed with a number of large projects underway, this is placing considerable strain on vendors who need to fulfil projects across the development and infrastructure spaces, McVicker said.

Furthermore, for projects which are already in motion, this has shown a further raft of IT projects that are set to commence in the new financial year.

As a result, McVicker said that Australian ICT employers really need to start implementing strategic recruitment and retention tactics as the IT employee market will only continue to tighten.

“In a service-based economy, which is becoming an increasing direction for Australia, your greatest and sometimes only asset is the team of people you have working for you. As a result, Australian employers must start behaving as if this were a commercial reality.”

According to McVicker, too often IT employers tend to ‘gold plate’ the specification of the person they want to hire, when in this competitive environment it is essential that employers hire for attitude and aptitude as opposed to technical skill alone.

HR and employers can actually expand their candidate base by narrowing their focus down to the absolute minimum skill level required to get the job done, and then select candidates on the strength of their with customer focus, tenacity, creativity, communication skills, and a desire and aptitude to learn.

“Rather than listing every single criteria, employers should instead identify what is the minimum level that is needed for the employee to fulfil the role,” he said.


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