Software developers and IT professionals are among the nation’s most confident workers despite ongoing economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, new LinkedIn data shows.
A survey of nearly 4,000 Australians conducted by the job-focused social media company measured how people were feeling about keeping their current job, improving their financial situation, and advancing their careers.
Sitting well above the national average, software and IT professionals neared the top of the workforce confidence list, behind the transport and logistics, finance, and mining and energy industries.
The heightened optimism comes despite a looming recession and job losses.
Official unemployment was at 7.1 per cent in May with the ABS estimating that around 20 per cent of the Australian workforce is “underutilised” – meaning one fifth of the country wants to work, or work more hours, but can’t.
IT professionals may be feeling generally positive about their career outlook, but the current economic situation is dire and the number of jobs available doesn’t appear to be increasing.
Job advertisements for IT barely increased from April to May, at a time when the overall job ads jumped up as coronavirus restrictions began to ease and economic activity increased, according to job ad site Seek.
Managing director of Seek Australia and New Zealand, Kendra Banks, said professional services sectors were appearing slow to bounce back.
“[This] could be a result of a range of factors including reduced activity and people continuing to work from home,” Banks said.
“This was reflected in job ad volumes, where we saw key sectors such as Information, Communication & Technology increase only marginally, by one per cent.”
In April, Seek found information and communications technology job ads had fallen by more than 50 per cent compared to last year.
And a recent report predicted further economic pain for the tech world with worldwide job ads still falling, noting that some vendors and startups had already begun letting staff go.
Still, trained IT workers may have a lot to crow about in a post-COVID world.
Globally, the value of tech stocks have risen during the pandemic and some investors are picking the growth trend to continue once the coronavirus crisis settles.
This could signal a shifting paradigm that refocuses the importance of IT departments and software skills generally.
Already that has been seen through the sudden explosion in work from home arrangements with many Australian business leaders saying they were unprepared for the rapid reliance on technology caused by lockdown.
Far from a temporary move to remote working, current arrangements are expected to continue as some people have reported being more productive during isolation.
Beyond day-to-day business operations, IT skills are becoming more important as cybersecurity was thrust into the spotlight following warnings from the Prime Minister in June that Australia was being targeted by a “sophisticated state-based cyber actor”.
The government followed that up this week by announcing it would invest $1.3 billion in cybersecurity over the next ten years while creating 500 cyber jobs through the Australian Signals Directorate.