IBISWorld reports temporary services staff numbers are increasing as low unemployment boosts industry demand. The temporary staff services industry is expected to grow over the coming five years with revenue forecast to increase at an annual 2.2 per cent over the five years to 2024 to $26.4 billion driven by increasing demand from the professional, scientific and technical services sector, the finance, banking and insurance sector and the healthcare sector.[i]
According to SEEK, Government and defence saw a 56% year-on-year growth in job ads for contract roles. Steve Jobson, Senior Account Manager at Talent International Canberra noted that in Canberra in particular, the Government is driving the demand for contractor roles with most government departments starting long-term programs of work. There is however some concern at the slow pace of change being delivered by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA). The DTA cites public service staffing headcount limits, contractors filling skills gaps and the difficulty of transferring contractors’ skills to permanent staff as the key barriers to delivering technology-driven reforms. Lack of consistent documentation on actual headcounts appears to be preventing detailed evaluation of the extent of engagement of contractors.
The consulting and contracting market remains strong for IT Professionals as businesses and government continue to use contractor resources to buy in specific technical skills and provide agility to deal with large scale and once-off projects without over-stretching in-house resources. SEEK found job ads for contract roles in the information and communications technology industry were up by 5% year-on-year. The Government continues to invest in its ICT infrastructure and capability with the Digital Transformation Agency overseeing projects to boost data sharing across agencies and improve public access to services providing strong opportunities for ICT contractors with skills in relevant areas. In its May Budget, the Federal Government also announced investment in artificial intelligence and machine learning in the areas of cybersecurity, health and energy as well as $600,000 towards upgrading the IP patents management system so those projects are likely to offer a range of permanent and contractor opportunities.
In engineering, contracting opportunities remain strong in spite of lower unemployment levels in the permanent workforce as project managers search for the specialised skills they need to complete major infrastructure projects. In Defence, significant investment in ships, aircraft, submarines and related technologies will continue to provide opportunities for technical professionals involved in production. In roads, major infrastructure projects in Victoria and Sydney are driving demand for engineering skills with construction of WestConnex in NSW and Metro Tunnel and level crossing removal works in Victoria. Greatest demand is for civil/structural engineers as well as electrical/electronic engineers and project engineers. Investment in roads projects has risen by 15.8 per cent over the past year. There is continuing strong demand for traffic, water, transport planning and fire engineers driven by infrastructure projects and infrastructure upgrades including a multitude of port, school, water, hospital and prison projects.
Major infrastructure projects stimulated growth in rail, with the industry benefiting from a raft of new projects – investment totalled $4.14 billion and rising 8.7 per cent compared with the previous year driving strong permanent and contracting opportunities for engineers.
Demand for structural and civil engineers to service a growing market in multi-residential apartments continues with ongoing growth in residential land development.
[i] IBISWorld Industry Report (July 2018). Temporary Staff Services in Australia.
[ii] Deloitte Access Economics (2018), Australia’s Digital Pulse, p.16.
[iii] Department of Employment, Internet Vacancy Index – March 2018.