Time is ripe for seasoned professionals

Time is ripe for seasoned professionals

Young guns are likely to be passed over for top IT jobs.

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

consolidation projects.

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

year progresses.

Major transformational works will also continue unabated, including

those at National Australia Bank, CBA and Telstra.

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