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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.

Olofsson believes some of the senior staff (program director, program managers) might be offered contracts rather than permanent employment. We anticipate the employment landscape may be reshaped to a certain extent where a larger percentage of opportunities will be contract-based, even at a senior level, and will involve jobs that are traditionally permanent, he says.

Chinas weaker hiring

Global employment services provider Manpower says overall, hiring expectations have weakened in seven cities and five industry sectors in mainland China for the first quarter of 2009. Employers in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou are reporting their weakest hiring intentions since the regional analysis began in the first quarter of 2007.

Lucille Wu, managing director of Manpower Greater China, says the global business downturn and decrease in exports have made Chinese employers more cautious about adding employees.

However, people who possess senior management skills needed by companies are still in high demand, Wu says. Under such circumstances, companies could utilise a more flexible workforce such as temporary staffing and part-time labour to manage employment costs and hiring risks, enhancing the ability to resist external changes.

Strong demand

Recruitment process outsourcing firm Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS) believes the demand for senior IT specialists in the Asia Pacific has remained relatively strong during the current financial crisis.

James Mendes, the AMS managing director of Asia Pacific, says in tough economic times, successful companies seek rainmakers in all areas of their businesstop performers who can come into a role, motivate staff, generate cost efficiencies and develop revenues, to move the company forward.

Mendes says the overall job market has tightened. Companies are seeking more bang for their buck and tend to focus more on detailed screening and assessment processes to ensure they find the ideal candidate for each role.

Senior IT professionals in the Asia Pacific, with experience in cost savings, offshoring, running strategic partnerships and the ability to directly impact revenue, will continue to be in demand in 2009, he says.

Companies are now also working hard to retain staff and to take care of top performers. Times of turmoil create a great deal of opportunity for headhunters, so its important to secure key talent as they are the ones who continue to have options and opportunities to explore, Mendes says. Leadership teams play a significant part in the retention effort, communicating with staff and focusing on talent management.

This AMS MD says forward-thinking companies will be looking at ways of enhancing their existing workforce by investing in training and development.

The effects of this approach are far-reaching. Investment in employees increases engagement and staff retention, reduces attrition, and provides capacity for competitive advantage when the economy begins to gain momentum once again, he says.


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