The number of tech jobs ads posted online has decreased significantly in the last year despite the major skills gap facing the sector, with companies focusing on highly specialised roles.

The Seek Employment Dashboard for October revealed a decline in the number of job ads posted on the recruitment platform across the board, with a 5 per cent month-on-month decline and a 20 per cent drop in the last year.

This decrease was more significant when it came to the information and communications technology sector, with a drop of 35.7 per cent year-on-year.

This was significantly higher than every other industry apart from hospitality and tourism, which saw a decrease of 37.2 per cent over the same period.

Despite there being fewer job ads, there was a 4 per cent increase in the number of applications made through Seek.

“After months of incremental decline, job ads recorded a larger seasonally adjusted decline in October, down 5 per cent month-on-month,” Seek ANZ managing director Kendra Banks said.

“While job ads continued to drop, they remained 16.7 per cent higher compared to October 2019.”

The decline in job ads was most felt in Victoria, which experienced a reduction of 6.8 per cent since last month.

New South Wales saw a decline of 5.1 per cent month-on-month, while the ACT saw a 4.7 per cent reduction. Western Australia and Tasmania both had job ads increases of about 1 per cent.

“Nationally, a fall in job ads in hospitality and tourism was the biggest contributor to the overall decline, followed by trades and services and healthcare and medical,” Banks said.

“Applications per job continue to rise as job ad volumes fall, up by 4.1 per cent in September, with almost every industry recording higher application rates month-on-month.”

In contrast to the decline in job ads, the tech sector is experiencing a major skills shortage. The first annual Jobs and Skills Report recently found that nearly 70 per cent of ICT professionals’ occupations are in shortage around Australia, while more than a third of all occupations are in national shortage.

The decline is likely the result of a “rebalancing” occurring within the Australian tech sector following the COVID-19 pandemic, with growth stagnating and organisations on the hunt for highly specialised roles, rather than more broad tech positions.

Statistics from last month found a slight decline in employee growth and median hourly rates in the tech sector, following periods of rapid growth over the last three years. But the same report found that specialised contractors are still able to command a premium rate, again indicating that the tech sector is on the hunt for highly specialised workers, and are competing with each other for this talent.

The 2023-24 Australian Tech Salary Guide, produced by Think & Grow and Compete, found that Australian companies were focusing on hiring specialists in areas such as user interface design, data and analytics and solutions engineering.

The job ads decline also may be indicative of a general broadening of tech skills across the economy, becoming part of other roles.

Previous Seek data identified that the proportion of job ads on the platform mentioning “technology” increased from just over 10 per cent in 2016 to more than 13 per cent in 2022.

The federal government recently signed a new National Skills Agreement with the state and territory governments and unions in an effort to address the growing skills gap, including a $12.6 billion overhaul of vocational training with the prioritisation of tech and security.