Only those who have seen it all before need apply for top information technology jobs this year, as nervous chief executives look for strong
governance skills and shy away from taking a punt on promising young
Battle-hardened IT executives will see their stock rise as senior
management teams look for seasoned technology professionals who can
help them drive greater efficiency and reduce costs.
"This won't be a good year for people who want to become chief
information officers, because the risk profile of hiring is going to
change and companies won't be prepared to take a chance," Talent2 CIO
practice leader Paul Rush said.
"We'll see a swing back towards tried and trusted individuals who have
already been through two recessions because they are much better
equipped to understand the pressures and strategies."
Not that there is likely to be a great deal of volatility in the upper
echelons of corporate IT management. The global economic crisis has
resulted in the balance of power swinging dramatically back towards
employers in recent months, with headhunters reporting a drastic
slowdown in executive movement during the final quarter of 2008.
For the first time since the dotcom crash seven years ago employers
have the whip hand over their IT executives, and overinflated
remuneration packages are quickly flattening out as the trail-blazing
finance sector falls back in line with the rest of the market.
Hudson IT practice leader Frank Wadsworth noted a significant change
in mood, whereby executives who might have assessed their options 12
months ago just because they failed to receive a full bonus were now
content to be in a good job that paid the mortgage.
But if the gloomy economic outlook continues well into the second half
of 2009, the pressure-cooker environment may eventually cause
volatility in the employment market as some CIOs become frustrated
with having their hands tied.
"CIOs will be faced with budget reductions, the number of staff that
report to them could fall, the priority of spend on IT will shift down
the food chain," Titan Services partner Adam Bate said.
"There will be an increase in their level of job dissatisfaction and
this will create an impetus for change. It will take a little bit of
time, but CIOs will move of their own accord."
On a more positive note, at least for IT professionals, the bloodbath
in the financial sector could well prove to be a much-needed boon as
frenetic merger and acquisition activity paves the way for large-scale
Despite a level of uncertainty that is "paralysing people into doing
nothing", Ambition Technology managing director Andy Cross pointed to
these integration projects, particularly in the financial sector, as a
silver lining that would keep the IT employment market moving and
create opportunities for talented executives.
Westpac Banking Corp and St George Bank looks set to be the largest
integration project on the horizon but there will also be major work
following the Commonwealth Bank of Australia's acquisition of
BankWest, and a range of similar projects are likely to emerge as the
Major transformational works will also continue unabated, including
those at National Australia Bank, CBA and Telstra.
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