Employers are still hiring for their IT departments despite an economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to recruitment agency Hays.

A recent survey conducted by Hays found while 19 per cent of businesses currently have a hiring freeze in place, 35 per cent of employers are currently hiring, with a renewed focus on data and digital skills.

“Many industries remain active and we’re seeing an uptick in hiring in certain areas,” said managing director of Hays Australia and New Zealand, Nick Deligiannis.

“The IT, life sciences, marketing, accountancy, HR and banking fields in particular are seeing jobs being added in key areas.”

Hays found employers were prioritising software developers, cloud engineers, and data analysts in their current hiring cycles.

Looking forward, the recruiter expects an increase in businesses hiring helpdesk, support and cybersecurity professionals – an unsurprising revelation given the sudden demand for online services caused by lockdown.

Hays also noted that there is a growing need for digital skills in industries outside IT.

It predicts a rise in recruiting for data analysts in finance and banking along with a greater need for IT professionals in the life sciences in the next 12 months.

Deligiannis’ advice for workers is to make sure their relevant skills and experience are always brought forward.

“If you need to, take some time to upskill,” he said.

“There are a number of ways you can upskill that won’t break the bank, such as following industry leaders on social media, attending webinars, listening to relevant online content like TED Talks and podcasts, joining an industry or professional association and asking for stretch opportunities in your current role.”

And don’t forget your soft skills. Hays found employers have been looking out candidates who have are good at communication, adaptability, and team work during the pandemic.

Across the board, Australian software developers and IT professionals have recently reported feeling confident with their job prospects and careers amid economic troubles that have seen the official unemployment rate rise above seven per cent – a figure that some think is actually much higher.

The rosy outlook for IT workers comes despite low month-on-month growth for IT job advertisements as reported by job ad website, Seek.