IT staff in jeopardy, under pressure

10 Feb 2009

It looks like the IT sector will be suffering the same blows from the economic downturn as other sectors as a just-published report predicts that over one quarter of Irish companies will be letting IT staff go over the course of 2009.

The survey by Clarion Consulting, entitled The Evolving Role of the IT Function in Irish Organisations, was compiled from polls completed online by 120 private and public-sector companies. 

As is expected, the companies that say they will be letting some of their IT staff go this year give ‘market conditions’ and ‘pressures towards rationalisation’ as the main reasons.

But while IT jobs hang in the balance, they will also be harder to come by for graduates as only 18pc of companies polled said they would be hiring IT staff in the short-term – a figure in stark contrast to last year’s 35pc.

More doom and gloom: only 28pc of these predicted hires in the short-term will be completely permanent staff – the other 43pc will be a combination of temporary and permanent, while the remaining 29pc will be composed of temporary staff only.

“Companies are looking for flexible resourcing models that minimise impact on permanent headcount and avoid fixed cost,” said Ronan Foley (pictured), director with Clarion Consulting.

“There is a realisation that, despite the economic slowdown, IT projects still need to be completed, and many organisations are drawing on the availability and expertise of temporary staff to help them achieve that.”

As to where across the varied range of IT jobs these companies will be targeting for temporary staff reductions, it appears it will be roughly across the board. However, some 44pc of the firms polled said that desktop support personnel, project managers and IT management could be the main victims.

Salary increases also look likely to be affected, with Foley adding that CIO’s will find it difficult to pay salary increases given the state of the economy right now.

“For this reason, employee training and development plans will become critical allowing for upskilling and cross-skilling, and providing a flexible workforce which can better respond to market challenges,” he said.

By Marie Boran

Pictured: Ronan Foley, director with Clarion Consulting