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IT Firms in Search of Grads

By Rachel Lebihan and Emma Connors
Australian Financial Review
Published: February 06, 2007

A number of companies have implemented IT graduate hiring plans.

Competition for technology graduates has accelerated as security firms join banks, consulting firms and other companies in stepping up graduate hiring plans.

Tech security services firm Cybertrust is filtering applications as its first graduate recruitment program gets under way. Two new recruits will join the Canberra team by next month and the program
will be extended to Sydney, Melbourne and Hong Kong next year.

Meanwhile, Accenture has increased its annual graduate intake by 25 per cent to about 300 positions this year and will look for talent in a range of courses including MBAs, business, commerce and IT/law.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group has ramped up its graduate intake across the bank. In information technology, it is looking to recruit 40 graduates to start in 2008, up from 35 this year and 33 the year before.

The bank will consider recruiting from various disciplines, including commerce/business, information and communications technology, science and maths. All the bank's IT graduate jobs are in Melbourne.

Data from the Australian Association of Graduate Employers (AAGE) shows a strong graduate market for 2007, and IT openings are among the highest across all professions. Accountancy, general management and technology accounted for just under half of vacancies reported. IT graduate vacancies are 21 per cent higher this year than last year.

Cybertrust is initially focusing its recruitment efforts in Canberra, where its director of human resources in the Asia-Pacific, Dyanne Ierardo, said the need for high-calibre security professionals was critical.

Though Ms Ierardo would not specify starting salaries for the graduates, she said base pay would be very competitive and training and development would be emphasised.

"The aim at the end of the program is to have some experienced qualified security administration or security engineers integrated straight into the business," she said.

Each graduate would be assigned a senior security engineer as mentor for the duration of the program, as well as short-term mentors during each three-month rotation.

IT security skills shortages are also behind anti-virus vendor Symantec Australia's plan to launch a graduate program, although it is unlikely to begin this year.

Symantec's vice-president for the Pacific region, David Sykes, said the move had been approved by the company's US parent as long as it was funded locally. At best, two graduates would be employed.

IBM Australia is seeking to increase its graduate program this year as changing workforce demographics, a strong labour market and growing skills shortages "prompt organisations to think more clearly about the future and about replenishing the workforce," IBM vitality hiring manager Bernadette Lamaro said.

In 2006, IBM Australia recruited more than 250 graduates. So far this year, 150 are already on board.

Ms Lamaro said a focus for the company this year was to increase student placements or internship programs, including its involvement in the Australian Computer Society's work integrated learning scheme.

The AAGE report found that the median IT graduate salary this year was $44,300, the same as in 2006.

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