IT job opportunities steady in Australia after June peak

IT job opportunities remain positive as Australia recovers from the coronavirus pandemic and unemployment rates in the industry changes slightly to a positive result.

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According to the latest data from Seek, there was a 2% increase of IT job advertisements on the jobseeker platform for September 2020. Still, that increase reflected one of the smallest least increases across industries when compared to August, showing that the IT rebound is slow.

Still, the scenario is a positive one as it shows a very different picture from that of March and April when the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns came into force and Seek registered a 35.5% decline in job ads for the IT industry from March to April.

The picture started changing soon after, with the first positive result showing in May, when IT job ads saw a 1% increase. The peak appears to have taken place in June when there was a 16% increase in IT job ads.

From there the increases slowed but remained positive. In July there was a 7% increase followed by a 4% increase in ads in August.

Most recent employment data in Australia

The most recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed that in August 2020 there were about 154,000 people employed full-time in ICT — ABS has information, media, and telecommunications (ICT) as a single industry. This is down from August 2019's 166,200 employed full-time.

Women have done better in ICT jobs during that period than men, gaining more full-time jobs. In August 2020, there were about 50,600 women employed on a full-time basis versus 49,500  in August 2019. In May 2020, there were about 52,100 women employed in ICT versus 46,100  in May 2019.

Possible explanations for the greater proportion of women during the pandemic could be more opportunities for women, greater numbers of women returning to work following maternity leave, and more work opportunities given to (or retained for) women because they are typically paid less than men.

Since Computerworld Australia last reported IT unemployment figures in Australia, the ABS changed from having two reports (a monthly and a quarterly one) to a single one combining both data sets, called Labour Force, Australia, Detailed.

According to the latest data, the number of ICT workers who have lost their jobs has dropped slightly from 6,000 to 4,900 — not inclusive of those who left their jobs voluntarily.

Local microskills support for IT workers

After a call for action from the minister for industry, science, and technology Karen Andrews to help tech workers gain the skills to find and keep jobs, a group of technology companies launched Skill Finder, a free microskills marketplace for Australians.

Skill Finder offers hundreds of online courses focused on digital skills. An online assistant guides users to the most relevant courses based on the information they choosesto share about professional background, experience, and areas of interest.

The courses cover 12 categories: business tools, cloud computing, coding, computer basics, customer service, data analysis and management, design, digital marketing,
machine learning and AI, project management, security, and small-to-medium business.

The website was built by Melbourne-based Balance Internet. Adobe provided upfront costs of Adobe Magento Commerce and Adobe Analytics for free, and Amazon Web Services is providing cloud services that supports the website. Adobe, Atlassian, AWS, Canva, Google, IBM, LinkedIn, Microsoft, MYOB, Salesforce, Twitter, and Xero have all contributed free courses and microskills.

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