The news is out there. As many as 1,000 information technology contractors have been let go at Services Australia, and Agriculture has announced it’s laying off 600 contractors.
This is part and parcel of the Albanese Government’s plan to reduce its external workforce as large, multi-year projects that needed ICT expertise wind up. This includes projects related to COVID-19 and the welfare payment infrastructure transformation initiative.
Is it all doom and gloom?
face2face Chief Executive Officer, Kate Prior, says it’s not all doom and gloom for ICT contractors.
‘As recruiters, we’ve seen cycles with ICT contractors laid off and then brought back on to support new public sector projects and initiatives, if required,’ says Kate.
ICT contractors who have lost work should seize the moment and give themselves the best chance possible to gain a new contract.
‘While there may be short-term pain, we believe ICT skills will remain strong over the long-term,’ says Kate. ‘But because many positions are filled before being advertised by recruiters, it’s important for ICT contractors to get their name in the mix.’
If, as an ICT contractor, you’re looking for a change to a permanent role with a government agency or in the private sector, now is the perfect time to do so. f2f is seeing increased requests for ICT permanent staff.
Kate says while some major projects requiring ICT specialist skills have wound up, or are winding up, new Australian Government projects are being planned, and there may even be activity early in 2023.
‘We don’t believe contractors registered with us will be unemployed for long, especially given that Australia doesn’t have enough ICT expertise across the board,’ says Kate. ‘This is a highly skilled profession in high demand in a tight employment market.’
An up-to-date resume is essential. ‘Now’s the time to create an updated resume with thought, rather than just tacking on details of your latest contract in a rush,’ says Kate. ‘We recommend that contractors update their resume regularly so they’re always ready for new opportunities.’
It’s essential to highlight technical (hard) skills on a quality ICT resume, but also other skills government and large private sector organisations value. Kate says this includes soft skills such as:
- team player
- problem solving.
It’s important to do more than just state you have a skill. It’s best to give an example of how you apply that skill. So, instead of just saying you’re a team player, state you were a productive member of a high-performing team who recommended a change to an ICT platform that saved $100,000.
As with the resume, ICT contractors should ensure their LinkedIn profile is well written, up-to-date and emphasises hard and soft skills. Once more, back up claims with examples.
If you’ve been let go, take advantage of down time and develop knowledge and skills. Consider, for example, taking courses that enhance skill sets or could lead you in a different direction should that be your aim.
Recruitment services – value add
ICT contractors dealing with f2f benefit from the team’s recruitment expertise. ‘We think laterally about opportunities for contractors,’ says Kate. ‘We focus on transferrable skills as well as sector-specialist skills.’
f2f is on nation-wide government panels giving contractors access to new opportunities and we’re pre-approved to submit candidates. This adds values to ICT contractors by expanding possibilities. We recruit for 145 government entities, including through these panels:
- Digital Marketplace
- NSW Government Contingent Workforce (the ACT Government also uses this panel).
‘We’re also a personable business with, as our name suggests, face-to-face contact,’ says Kate. ‘We have a strong track record not only with placement but in developing long-term relationships. Understanding what contractors want and what they offer, in detail, is critical.’
Another unique service is that f2f stays with contractors well after they’re placed, with a set contact plan. ‘We don’t place and disappear,’ says Kate. ‘We keep communication flowing to ensure contractors are settled and happy with their contract. We provide support and solve issues quickly.’
Bright future – major shortage of skills
Australian cyber security magazine and other reputable sources say companies are ‘… determined to further embrace ongoing digital transformation to enhance the customer experience.’
Also, organisations are being held back by a lack of key skills.
The magazine shares other key Australian insights pointing to a bright future for ICT experts, including growth and/or continued progress in areas like artificial intelligence, Cloud migration, cyber security, data and analytics, and customer experience.
‘It’s understandable that recent government moves are leaving some ICT contractors rather nervous,’ says Kate. ‘But we believe contractors on the front foot will soon find new opportunities.’
Kate encourages ICT contractors who have been let go, or are concerned they may be, to phone for a chat.
Simply call 02 6199 5750.