Lack of skills in Canberra push up contractor rates

The Australian Government has a problem, in a recent article in the Australian IT it was stated that they can’t find enough contractors at the right rates in the nation’s capital.

SURGING contractor costs in the nation’s capital are straining federal government projects worth more than a billion dollars and forcing a rethink of employment strategies at some of the country’s largest technology users.

Graduates and interstate destinations such as Brisbane and Adelaide have emerged as the biggest winners from the budget-busting labour shortage, which has pushed up contractor costs by 30 per cent in the past six months.

For example the Australia Tax Office is looking for SAP, Siebel and IBM content management skills and the increasing rates are putting pressure on their budgets.

The government seems to be tackling the issue on three fronts, first moving some work to other centres where there is not the price pressure, Brisbane and Adelaide and going for new graduates. Finally some departments are trying to bring people on as full time resources. The first two moves don’t seem to addressing the needs quick enough and as such projects are now running over budget and late, the worst situation to be in for a project. Hiring of graduates is a great move to ensure younger works get experience straight out of university, but it does not help cover the gaps in the senior ranks.

Out of interest I did a quick search using’s Job Index Trends tool on the number of jobs ads for SAP, Siebel and IBM Content Manager in Canberra. The results indicated that there was a surge in job advertising before Christmas but this has now decreased dramatically. Comparing the same search in Brisbane and Adelaide doesn’t seem to indicate a massive move in job ads being placed in these smaller centres.

One thought on “Lack of skills in Canberra push up contractor rates

  1. Michael,

    I’m sure this applies across the board for skilled jobs within Government at both State and Federal level.

    I read recently that David Vos, the Inspector General of Taxation, is concerned that ATO staff may not have adequate skills to do their job. That’s hardly surprising when you see what salaries they offer and consider that there is a global shortage of accountants, which presumably many of the ATO’s staff are.

    But it’s the same across the board, in almost every skilled job discipline the public sector must be struggling to attract the people they need.

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