ICT professionals are the most in-demand workers across the country, according to figures released by the Australian Government today.

For the month of April 2020, Australia registered 5,600 online job ads for IT workers, the Labour Market Information Portal (LMPI) found.

That was above medical practitioners and nurses (5,100), carers and aides (3,300) and business, finance and human resource professionals (2,800).

Overall, the Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) reported its largest decline since it began reporting numbers in January 2006.

There were just 94,300 job ads, down by 16.4 per cent – or 18,400 advertisements – compared to the previous month of March 2020.

Compared to this time last year, the drop was even more stark, with job ads down 46.1 per cent.

The opportunities for ICT professionals lead the pack. Graphic: Labour Market Information Portal

“This represents a continuation of the sharp economic downturn stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report found.

Even during the Global Financial Crisis – the previous record decline – job ads fell 8.2%.

Today’s announced drop is double.

Where are the jobs

The states/territories looking for the greatest number of ICT professionals are all on the eastern seaboard.

NSW leads with 2,200 openings, followed by with 1,400, and ACT with 840. ICT professionals were the top-needed workers

Queensland needs another 690 workers, followed by Western Australia on 340 and South Australia on 210.

Northern Territory and Tasmania did not have ICT professionals in their top 10 most-needed positions.

Jobs must go on

Even in a depressed labour market, positions need to be filled as people change or leave jobs.

This has proved a challenge for human resources departments who need to interview and hire applicants without first meeting them in person.

A global poll of 334 HR heads by research firm Gartner last month found that even though 82 per cent of organisations were anticipating a decline in external hiring across the next three months, 86 per cent were using “new technology” to interview and onboard employees.

“While most organisations are currently conducting interviews remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual interviewing may become the new standard for recruiting leaders and candidates long after social distancing guidelines are lifted,” said Lauren Smith, vice president in the Gartner HR practice.

“The most successful organisations provide candidates with the same level of information and feeling of connection with the organisation as they would have with an in-person interview or onboarding experience.”

It seems there may also be more internal opportunities for people already with an employer.

“As business needs change for many organisations, HR and senior leaders can acquire the people they need by sourcing talent internally,” Smith said.

“Gartner research shows that though they are not actively searching, 39% of employees would be open to switching to a new role within their organisation.”