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Weathering the storm: Business CIOs are safest

Ross O. Storey | Feb. 11, 2009
What will be the information technology employment landscape for 2009? What are the best strategies for survival? A range of pundits share their views about IT recruitment, salary and employment prospects for the year ahead.

Downward pressure on information technology (IT) salaries, longer hours, more outsourcing and more creative employment contracts; on the face of it theres limited good news about the employment outlook for the Asia Pacific information technology industry in 2009.

Many crystal ball gazers expect a stormy 2009 for the IT industry.

But there is a positive flip side, a silver lining to the dark cloud.

Business-minded IT decision-makers will face greater demand for their skills, and, while its definitely an employers market, senior, experienced ICT executives will continue to be sought after.

Valued middle order IT experts can also expect to receive increased professional training as enterprises strive to develop and hold their best people.

Robert Walters (RW) has something of an upbeat outlook in its latest 2009 salary survey.

Asias quick recovery

As 2008 drew to a close, the general sentiment among retail, logistics, software, storage, consumer electronics, systems integration and financial services organisations was unanimous, the RW report states. Asia will prove to be the region to recover most swiftly and deliver consistent growth and business expansion opportunities. For Hong Kong, RW believes that by the second half of 2009, the IT employment market will be showing clear signs of re-stabilising. The firm also makes some interesting observations relating to the slump.

The report states that within the financial services sector, candidates with strong technical competency, coupled with expert business knowledge, will be highly sought after.

Equities trading knowledge will also be popular with an increased demand expected for IT professionals with knowledge of derivatives pricing and risk calculation.

RW believes that a new generation of information security and control practices will follow the current reform of the global financial system.

This will lead to an increase in demand for candidates with a combination of IT expertise, banking operations knowledge and the ability to define and implement robust control processes, the report states.

Not the dot-com

Roger Olofsson, associate director, with RWs IT specialist recruitment division, says the retrenchment exercises in this financial crisis have seen smaller number of IT professionals being let go, as compared to the 2001 dot-com crisis.

At this stage, we do not think the IT market will go down as far as it did in 2001, which was primarily driven by the dot-com bust and the telecommunications downturn, culminating in the 9/11 event and the SARS outbreak in 2003, Olofsson says. Hence in comparison, the current environment is certainly not as bleak for professionals in the IT space.

He sees opportunities where senior expertise is needed because of key IT initiatives that have been committed and for major systems implementations in the ERP space, plus large-scale integrations due to company mergers.


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