Technology and the public sector: A brighter outlook for 2016

Main Image

As the year draws to a close, it is important to reflect on the activity within state governments and the market as a whole. The public sector has been a key place to watch, following many announcements and investments over the last 12 months.

Here are some of the key trends and predictions we've seen this year and how they will affect the job market in 2016.

How is the public sector stacking up?

Government organisations are adopting a much more agile approach to projects. Some departments have been early adopters of cloud technology and are at the forefront of innovations, even in comparison to the commercial sector.

Departments in NSW are starting to outsource their service desk and infrastructure requirements to offshore providers more frequently.

Economically, the government is always driving hard to achieve a good price and value in their investments. They pay reasonably well for contractors, however, the current rate is just below the market average.

As conditions change to a more candidate-driven market, we need to to see an upswing in rates and we expect this to happen within the coming year. To attract the best candidates in the market, governments will have to offer competitive salary rates.

Setting the stage for job opportunities

A key driver we've seen for recruitment is economic growth in NSW. Over the past year, our state has been growing the fastest compared to any other region. This puts NSW in a strong position for jobs in the coming year, yet the transition away from mining will also create challenges in terms of transformation. Australia has been heavily geared towards mining in the past two decades, but now that the industry is slowing down, other markets are opening up. Technology is a big part of fostering growth and the NSW is seeing the benefits in this area.

There has been talk of Sydney becoming a new Silicon Valley and there has certainly been more activity in terms of small business grants. The state has been seeing a lot more innovation and a good relationship between state governments and private businesses

Another pleasing point is the employment figures. Unemployment in NSW has sat below the national average for the past 18 months and this is expected to drop to around 5.5 per cent by 2017. In the next four years, the state government has also committed to creating over 100,000 new jobs in the state. This will mean better prospects, yet also a potential war for talent in some cases.

Despite the hype seen a few months ago, the recent change in prime minister has yet to make a huge impact on the state. However, in the long term, things are looking more positive as we see increased investment in innovation and re-building NSW.

What can candidates do to prepare?

Companies have been demanding more crossover in terms of skillsets. Previously, a developer would focus on either the front end or the back end but now the expectation is that they can cover both. Application development is also highly sought after, so having this knowledge is a key advantage.

Nowadays, state governments are not just looking for anyone off the street. There are looking for the best of breed in the market. However, for the right candidate, the public sector can offer a great career prospect in terms of upskilling and the sheer scope and innovation of projects.