Have you delighted a customer lately?

Julie_webI’m sure you’ve heard of the term “delighting a customer”, where organisations make a great impression on a customer by going just the little bit further than expected. Well, I’m very glad to say ITCRA had one of these moments recently.

As an industry association one of the key benefits we provide to the employment sector is information – not always at our fingertips but, like the octopus with a brain on every tentacle, we have a bank of ‘knowledge’, resources and contacts.

And, I have to say, the questions often come from unexpected quarters which makes for interesting conversations around the meeting table when we report on the latest requests to the Research Committee.

Here’s what happened recently. I received a call from a global technology corporation with an office in remote regional Australia who was looking for information about rates for ICT contractors in their area. They were not having any luck sourcing the information they needed, as much of data was related to capital cities.

However, Google soon lead them to ITCRA. They found the ITCRA Trends Report cited on several IT trade news and blog sites but no mention of their particular setting.

So they picked up the phone and were discussing their challenge with me and asked if we might have any remuneration data on the roles they were looking to recruit in their region. Not a problem was my confident answer – as I knew there would be someone in our “knowledge” bank who could find the answer.

Within minutes I was in touch with our research experts at BurningGlass and gave them a quick brief. Soon after, BurningGlass were mining their data and comparing various roles and rates. Within 40 minutes of taking the initial call I had a market summary and rate estimates from BurningGlass and was sharing it with the global company, along with the latest Trends Report that didn’t cover the specific region in question but did profile Members who participate in our “market knowledge” program – SkillsMatch.

The response was, “Thanks for the email. Wow! This data is impressive – and in such a short turnaround. There are some differences in what I am seeing in the market here but it gives me a validated starting point – accepting it is based on a sample from your source”

This caller was expecting to wait days before receiving a response, not minutes. I think saying he was “delighted” is an understatement.

Did I make a sale with this? No.

Did I get a new Member? No.

Did I do my job? Yes because:

  • ITCRA delivered on its commitment to provide business intelligence to the market and to profile ITCRA Members
  • A global company who engages contractors now knows the ITCRA brand and the names of all companies who support the knowledge program (ie SkillsMatch Partners)
  • BurningGlass demonstrated its agility and its responsiveness to a quite challenging request and validated its place as a Gold Partner.

In continuing with the knowledge theme ITCRA has just released the ICT Employment Trends report for Q4 (Oct-Dec) 2015.

The results in this quarter’s Report reflect the continued trend of a slight shift in the proportion of roles in the market away from contract towards permanent positions. In the last quarter of 2015, 16% of new roles were for permanent positions. This has risen from 9% since the start of the year. Interestingly there was a jump in the proportion of permanent roles in New South Wales to 20%, whereas the previous high was 13%. To my NSW network reading this – is there something happening in NSW that can explain this spike or is it an anomaly?

Our analysis of market activity, in terms of the time it takes to fill roles, showed that across Australia the average time to fill permanent roles has decreased during 2015 from 67 to 45 days – is this a sign we are moving towards a buyer’s market?

We are also noticing a shift in the remuneration relationship between contract and permanent roles. Contract roles appear to be decreasing in value compared to over a year ago. Nationally, contractors’ average hourly rates have shifted from earning 58% more than permanent roles in Q1 2015, to now earning 23% more.

My instincts tell me that this trend will not continue given the size of the country’s contractor market. Rather, this is perhaps a reflection a shift of senior level roles moving from contract to permanent positions.

You can visit itcra.com to contribute data or subscribe to the report … and delight your customers with your knowledge (with a little bit of help from ITCRA)!

 

Thinking ahead

Julie Mills 091014-1The IT recruitment industry is in an enviable position when it comes to understanding the market. By sitting at the nexus between employers and employees we know what the market demands and what is in supply. Our ICT Employment Trends Report is proof of this.

However, I think now is the time to look into the future and do some blue-sky thinking. Much of our current research data provides an insight to what has happened, but what would be great to know is what is going to happen in 3, 5 and 10 years from now.

That isn’t easy when you consider many of the roles our industry currently places didn’t even exist five or 10 years ago such as App Developer, Big Data Architect, User Experience Designers and Cloud Services Specialist. I often consider this when I’m at my granddaughter’s 3-year-old playgroup – what will the position descriptions and job titles of these Millennials be when they are in the workforce?

At the same time I’m sure any recruitment company that is doing its business planning must be looking into the proverbial ‘crystal ball’ and wondering what the next decade will bring.  Many organisations are already thinking about how the future workplace will operate – Adecco’s Tomorrow’s Workplace paper is but one example.

Some of our current data can indicate future demand. BurningGlass, an ITCRA research partner, identifies hard to fill jobs with hard to fill skills across a number of continents – which is useful insight for Australia and New Zealand. Not surprisingly, these ‘employer pain points’ demand premium salaries.

Cyber security is a case in point.  According to BurningGlass report, The Growth of Cybersecurity Jobs, in the US last year cyber security job postings took 24% longer to fill than ICT job postings on average. In fact this real time data source has seen cyber security postings grow by 74% from 2007-2013, which is over 2 times faster than all ICT jobs in the US.

We can and are drilling down into similar data for Australia, and sharing this with the tertiary and secondary sectors, to ensure there is alignment to skills and competencies for future market needs.

Finding and tracking the bellwethers of future market needs will be critical to defining a proactive, strategy strong ICT sector. This will then ensure we understand what skills the market is forecasting will be in demand – and then aligning this with tertiary and secondary education curriculum.

Consequently we would have graduates equipped with the skills the market needs making them more employable and supporting a sustainable economy.

This future education and employment supply chain is living, breathing and rapidly evolving in nature.

Industry-wide innovation and blue-sky thinking is needed to address this misalignment that currently exists. Yes, this might seem idealistic and possibly naïve … but wouldn’t it be great to see a future of more fluid curriculum design that is developed in consultation with industry and economic demands.

I believe that ITCRA has a significant, and critical, role to play in supporting a vibrant IT sector in Australia through driving an informed, research based discussions on the future employment of the sector. ITCRA has already had informal discussions with related industry bodies, organisations, universities and policy makers on the matter. If you would like to participate in some way, please let me know.

NOTE: ITCRA and IT Institute are already demonstrating the success of using the market needs to set education programs for ICT students and the first wave of graduates heading to roles our Trends Report identified as “in demand” will be the real test of model.

It feels like the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party right at this moment!

Julie Mills 091014-1March was designated as networking month so that means meetings, drinks, lots of discussions and CEO’s Circle across the country. And what a month it has been! I will need the Easter break to catch my breath.

With next week to go, and one Members gathering left in ACT I can’t believe the engagement and enthusiasm of Members across the country – despite us having to compete with cricket finals, appalling weather in some cases and cancelled attendees.

So, why does it feel like a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party?

  1. In QLD the networking had the largest attendance in my history as CEO – and despite the many challenges on offer in QLD the positive vibe was astounding – and a potential Member company attended, was impressed and signed up the next day
  2. In Sydney, our largest membership base, we had the smallest attendance but the party went on well into the night and a Member who saw us  networking as he pulled out of the car park near the venue, stuck his head out of the car and apologised for not being there, asked if there was an available seat on the Committee because he thought he should contribute more – and the Committee Members in attendance said yes and off he drove!   A new Supporter attended the night and, after discussions agreed to change their whole strategy in working with ITCRA – I just hope they remembered the next day!
  3. In my experience you have to chase nominees for State and Territory Committees – all Committees had nominees at first call and, in WA, someone at the drinks afterwards was so impressed with the commitment of the ongoing Chair he put his hand up and signed on for Committee duties there and then.
  4. In SA the Committee and the discussions at Networking were far more focussed on how ITCRA could support initiatives in SA to help the economy – and as the night wore on we really developed some high level thinking – so watch SA become the ITCRA powerhouse.
  5. And then to Victoria where I discovered we have a hidden networking talent among our own Secretariat team.  And that ITCRA’s message attracted a left-of-centre company to Networking to see what we were about, and then agreed to discuss joining the Association as a Supporter and adviser to Members.
  6. The CEO’s Circle this month had the largest number of senior level ITCRA company representatives in the room at one time to review big data and analytics from SEEK as an ITCRA Business Member.  The discussion and follow up as well as the planned launch of a new ITCRA initiative made for an interesting afternoon.

While this face to face engagement has been happening, we had:

  • another eight new Members sign up and immediately join other programs such as the Remuneration and Benchmarking Report and iSafe
  • a new Silver Supporter has joined the Association
  • two key research programs in Queensland and Western Australia have been seeking data from our Employment Trends resource
  • sold our first Data Cleansing in-house service to a Privacy Network Member
  • six new Certification sign ups
  • a new iSafe subscription has been signed up
  • a new program, initiated through ITCRA that we haven’t even launched yet, with our Supporter, RecTech Solutions, has already got a taker
  • Intech Credit Union launch a great home loan package for ICT contractors via ITCRA and the response from Members and contractors has been rapid with the offer appearing on many Members’ sites almost immediately
  • an article published in the Global Recruiter magazine

Am I bragging? You betcha!

So with a few days of March to go I just want the party to continue, for across this month alone ITCRA will have directly connected with more than 250 individuals, an all-time record for one month. Can’t take a selfie to prove it as it has been spread across the country, but I can tell you that we have all had a great time and the market may be tight in spots but everyone is extremely committed to the ITCRA Strategy. This makes my job so much easier and is what Membership Associations are all about.

Thanks everyone, and, in particular to Burning Glass and Arthur J Gallagher, whose sponsorship of this Mad March has made everything possible.