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    IT/HR news


    IT/HR news

    Naturally, part of our job is a wider understanding of the business environment that we all operate in. What's new in people management? The latest technology trends?

    Please see below for some news that has caught our eyes this month. Do let us know if it was helpful! And by all means, please send us any news you believe is going to change the way things are done.


    Cyber Security Driving Job Opportunities

    Finite Group

    A number of the Finite team recently attended an Australian British Chamber of Commerce luncheon on cyber security. We were reminded that the global IT industry would have 1 million outstanding security jobs by 2019. It's a statistic that has been heavily emphasised this year by many leading sources as diverse as Forbes, Symantec, CSO Online and PWC. The range and sophistication of threats is growing. An unforeseen consequence of the great Internet of Things (IOT) is that everything is now vulnerable to attack. Think vital devices like life sustaining medical equipment, think mundane devices such as thermostats. Industry and commentators are agreed that it's the next great IT challenge. To illustrate the global shortage I can share that Finite were recently requested by UK based clients to pillage the Aussie market for expertise. (We didn't do it of course).

    Many consulting firms are approaching this dilemma by purchasing storage and networking specialist companies and upskilling the staff in the latest cyber security technologies, others by partnering with universities to drive new courseware suited for purpose. Many Australian Universities and TAFEs are now offering cyber security advanced degrees and PGs (and we do need these grads). The problem is that the security technology is evolving (rapidly) to answer more sophisticated threats, and there is no way that formal education can stay the pace.

    The answer I think, lies in the same place it always has when CIOs cry fire in the theatre; in the technical curiosity and adaptability of the tech community, recent grads and old hands. There has not been a tech skills shortage yet that was not answered from within. IT contractors are highly skilled, have prospered in continuous change environments and are always looking for challenges they haven't yet solved. Cyber security would seem a nirvana to many techies; a battleground of changing boundaries, evolving technologies, disruptive ideas, and importantly, a task of purpose.

    Professionals looking to move towards security in their organisations should raise their hands. Speak to the CSO (if there is one), the relevant manager if not. Opt in to network security upgrades, get involved in security working groups. Perhaps research what formal upskilling is available and look to your employer to fund it. Security is keeping CIOs and CEOs up at night, and almost every organisation is skill short. Becoming relevant in this challenge could bring future career security!


    Instagram hits 500 million monthly users

    Sydney Morning Herald

    Instagram now reaches more than 500 million people each month and 300 million each day, lengthening its lead over Twitter and underscoring Facebook's beachhead of popular mobile apps with escalating growth around the globe.

    Instagram more than doubled in size over the past two years, adding 100 million active users faster than the previous 100 million, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing service said. More than 80 per cent of users are from outside the US. On average, more than 95 million photos and videos are shared each day.

    The growth announcement underscored the deepening straits for Twitter, which is struggling to revive growth yet is stuck at about 300 million monthly users. Instagram hit 400 million users in September.

    Facebook has spread its tentacles into the messaging boom after building the world's most popular social network, buying Instagram for $US1 billion in cash and stock in 2012. Facebook also owns two other of the world's most popular apps: WhatsApp, which it bought for billions and has 1 billion users, and its homegrown app, Facebook Messenger, which hit 900 million users in April.

    "Facebook itself captures enormous amounts of people's attention on their mobile devices, and that's hugely powerful. But there will always be alternatives either in broad use or in use by demographic or geographic segments," said Jan Dawson, chief analyst with Jackdaw Research.

    Instagram, for example, is popular with teens.

    "Facebook has arguably been deploying the candy bar strategy — own as many of the brands on the shelf as possible to maximize your market share," Dawson said.

    The exception: Snapchat, the mobile app popular with young people which Facebook tried to buy twice.

    "It remains to be seen how important that miss will be, but it's already clear that it's a really important competitor to Facebook for people's time and attention, and for companies' ad dollars," Dawson said.

    The jump in Instagram users — and their advertising-pleasing demographics — has helped Facebook bill Instagram as a buy for marketers looking to increase awareness and spur sales. Evidence of its early commercial promise: Instagram already has more than 200,000 advertisers. Analysts say Instagram's nascent advertising business is growing rapidly.

    Research firm eMarketer expects Instagram's global mobile ad revenue to reach $US1.53 billion this year and more than $US5 billion by 2018. Analysts say Instagram's contributions are already being felt in Facebook financial results even though the giant social network does not break those out.

    "What is certain is that Instagram has been a big factor in Facebook's recent repeated blowing out of its financial results, and its impressive rate of revenue growth in particular," Dawson said.


    The collapse of Australia's corporate dress code has just made life more difficult for men

    Business Insider

    Having a dress code at work wasn’t such a bad thing for men.

    You didn’t have to think about what to wear. Just reach for the blue or grey suit, add a tie and white shirt, and slip on the black leather shoes.

    But with corporate dress codes collapsing across Australia, the new, and mostly unspoken, standards come with their own challenges.

    The relaxing of dress rules isn’t an excuse to swap the suit for jeans and pretend you’re working for a startup. There’s a catch.

    At PwC, the list of acceptable clothing has been replaced with a simple message — staff should dress in a way that makes them feel great, is respectful to clients and colleagues, and safe and appropriate for the environment they are in.

    This freedom to choose comes with the burden of decisions to find something to wear to fit the situation. As a consequence men now have to be more creative about their clothing choices.

    And, for some, that’s a challenge. However, the latest research shows men are shopping more for clothes and are, supposedly, enjoying the experience.

    Retailers see this as an opportunity.

    A personal style

    “Fashion retailers in particular have a lot to gain from this trend,” according to the annual AMP Capital Shopping Centres Recommended Retail Practice Report.

    “As the younger generation enters the work force, and many large corporations begin to relax their formal dress codes, the days of wearing the same navy suit to work every day are gone.

    “This means that many men are suddenly faced with the need to develop a personal style beyond the two days of the weekend.

    “It’s not just young men either, even older generations are no longer wearing ties to the office every day. This creates a strong opportunity for fashion brands to provide curated services for men’s styling, such as working with personal style experts and creating environments where men feel comfortable shopping for fashion items.”

    The AMP study talked with 750 shopping enthusiasts in Australia and New Zealand over three weeks in May. On top of that, there was an online survey of 1000 in Australia and 500 and New Zealand.

    Men like shopping?

    Men are keen shoppers, according to the results which are aimed at informing retailers. Three quarters (75%) like shopping, and 22% say they love it, while 56% admit to visiting a shopping centre at least once a week.

    “It might seem hard to believe, but men want shopping to become less of a necessity and more of a pastime,” says the study.

    “Traditionally the face of retail has been predominately designed for women, and male shoppers feel under-catered for in the retail environment.

    “Men tend to be more technology–focused than women, which makes them the prime target for digital disrupters such as Amazon, so bricks and mortar retailers need to do more to connect with men emotionally.”

    Men, when compared to women, also have a different end game in mind when shopping.

    Men have needs

    Matt Jensen, the CEO and founder of clothing store M.J. Bale, says men typically shop because they have a need and not because they just want something.

    “They may have an event or party coming up that they want to look their best, so come in to store with a specific vision or outcome in mind (such as a wedding),” he told Business Insider.

    “Guys shop for value, so we’ll also spend time talking with the customer about how else he can use the garments to either dress up or dress down another look.”

    Jensen says women are more happy to browse, not always looking for an outcome. Men only really come in to a store if they have a need or if something has caught their eye.

    “Young guys tend to make more spontaneous decisions based on something they’ve seen and like, whereas mature customers are more considered in terms of their purchase, weighing up factors like quality, longevity and fit,” he says.

    And the men don’t always make decisions on their own.

    “A lot of guys tend to come in to store by themselves at first, then bring in their partner afterwards for approval and validation,” Jensen says.


    The CEO behind 'Pokémon Go' explains why it's become such a phenomenon

    Business Insider

    On Saturday night, my girlfriend and I snuck away from the cocktail reception at a charity dinner because Pokémon GO had informed us that there might be a Pikachu nearby, and we were on the hunt.

    This is not the normal way that people play video games together. Then again, “Pokémon Go” isn’t a normal video game.

    Just like we sneaked away from the party, people are going on long walks, meeting new people, and having adventures, just trying to live their dreams of becoming a master Pokémon trainer.

    And that’s exactly how John Hanke, CEO of “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic, likes it.

    “The game itself is intended to facilitate the real-life stuff,” Hanke tells Business Insider. The reward is the encouragement and opportunity to go out and have new experiences, “not the big scene at the end where the boss dies.”

    The Niantic team had three big goals in mind when building “Pokémon Go,” Hanke says.

    Exercise: A lot of fitness apps come with a lot of “baggage” that end up making you feel like “a failed Olympic athlete” when you’re just trying to get fit, Hanke says. “Pokémon Go” is designed to get you up and moving by promising you Pokémon as rewards, rather than placing pressure on you.

    “To see the world with new eyes:” The game is intended to “give you a little nudge” towards cool and interesting things in your neighbourhood by turning real-life landmarks and historical sites into Pokéstops and Gyms where players power up and battle. By encouraging exploration, “Pokémon Go” can “make your life better in some small way,” Hanke says.

    Breaking the ice: All over the world, players are organising “Pokémon Go” outings, cruising around their area and trawling for Pokémon. At higher levels, players need to team up with fellow players to conquer those Gyms. This is by design: Hanke describes “Pokémon Go” as an “icebreaker” that “gives people a reason to spend time together.”

    It’s like no other game out there, Pokémon or otherwise. That’s great news for Nintendo and its share price, which has skyrocketed on the indication that it can thrive in a smartphone-driven world.

    And while “Pokémon Go” may be an overnight sensation, it took a lot of work, a lot of hard thinking, and a little bit of luck over the last few years to make it what it is.

    Where the idea came from

    Before “Pokémon Go,” Niantic was best known for “Ingress” — the Android and iPhone game that challenged players to explore the world around them and claim territory. At its peak, “Ingress” counted millions of players around the world.

    “Pokémon Go” is like a spiritual sequel to “Ingress.” Niantic took a lot of the “Ingress” data, and a lot of the lessons it learned about keeping players safe, to make “Pokémon Go” work and populate its world.

    To hear Hanke tell it, that’s because “Ingress” was always intended to be kind of a proof-of-concept for ways in which Google and Niantic could help outside partners and customers build their own games.

    “Our intent was to make a platform for many different experiences,” Hanke says.

    And Pokémon was a natural fit.

    Enter the Pokémon Company — the joint venture that co-owns the Pokémon copyright, with Pokémon game developer Game Freak, toy maker Creatures, and Nintendo all holding an equal stake.

    Google and the Pokémon Company first connected on April Fools’ Day 2014, when a short-lived but extremely viral game challenged players to find Pokémon via the Google Maps mobile apps. People loved it: Google Maps plus Pokémon was “like chocolate and peanut butter,” Hanke says. And an idea was born.

    Emboldened by the success of the April Fools’ Day joke, Niantic pitched Nintendo and the Pokémon Company on the game that would become “Pokémon Go.” It turned out that Pokémon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara was already a high-level “Ingress” player in Japan, which made those conversations much easier.

    And the late, beloved Nintendo CEO Saotoru Iwata gave his highest approval to the project, recognising that the company was late to the smartphone era, and willing to bet on Niantic to help turn things around.

    “They totally got where we were coming from,” Hanke says.

    The Google split

    In early 2015, around the same time that Google was beginning to talk internally about spinning non-core businesses off into a holding company called Alphabet, the idea of Niantic “perhaps becoming its own thing surfaced,” Hanke says.

    The logic, he says, was that “we were always kind of bumping up against Google’s desire to stay neutral,” Hanke says.

    Google builds products like Maps, and marketplaces like the Google Play Store, as a “horizontal, low-level platform,” Hanke says. It meant that Niantic couldn’t be given special treatment over any other developer using Google platforms, or those other developers might get upset and look for alternatives.

    Plus, it opens up the door for Niantic to work with other customers and partners who might have been scared off by the prospect of working with a superpower like Google. The values and needs of certain customers were “not always aligned with Google,” Hanke says.

    At the same time, it was thought that it would only help Niantic’s collaboration with Nintendo and the Pokémon Company if they held a financial stake in the venture, and they could “open up and share more” if they had some percentage of ownership in the finished product.

    Everything “kind of lined up,” and in late 2015, Niantic spun off with Google, Nintendo, and the Pokémon Company all participating in a $20 million investment round to kick things off.

    Working with The Pokémon Company

    Hanke has only praise for the process of working with The Pokémon Company, its main collaborator on the project.

    There was a funny thing, though: The Pokémon Company loved “Ingress,” and Niantic loved the Pokémon series, and they each wanted the game to be more like the other.

    “We were trying to pull things from Pokémon, and they were more from ‘Ingress,'” Hanke says.

    The two companies shared crucial elements like the three-dimensional models and sounds for the Pokémon themselves, saving a lot of time while also ensuring “Pokémon Go” was as true to the classic games as possible.

    The music, notably, is similar to the original Pokémon games — Junichi Masuda, the composer of the classic low-fi soundtrack on the original “Pokémon Red and Blue,” wrote a new score for “Pokémon Go.”

    Masuda, who has since become the director of the modern Pokémon games, including the forthcoming “Pokémon Sun and Moon,” also helped Niantic develop “Pokémon Go’s” signature “capture” mechanic of throwing Poké Balls with precision at the monsters, Hanke says.

    The goal was to make something that was recognisable to fans of the classic Pokémon games, including catching and battling, but that was “more accessible” to people who don’t have the time or willingness to learn the more “demanding” systems of the original games. Catching Pokémon, especially, is supposed to be easy to learn, as an easy on-ramp to later-game mechanics like battling and capturing Gyms.

    In fact, Hanke says, Niantic almost didn’t include the Pokémon games’ key element of “evolving” a Pokémon into a new form to make it stronger, because they were afraid it might be too complicated for new players. But they eventually relented. And sooner rather than later, Hanke says, more classic features like Pokémon trading with friends is coming.

    “We honored the spirit of the original game,” Hanke says. “I like where we landed.”

    So if you’re a part of the “Pokémon Go” phenomenon, understand it was a series of very deliberate choices that got you hooked, the culmination of a long road that began many years ago.

    Oh, and I caught the Pikachu.


    Verizon agrees to buy Yahoo's web assets in $US4.8b deal

    Sydney Morning Herald

    Verizon Communications agreed to buy Yahoo's web assets for $US4.83 billion ($6.4 billion), ending the company's two-decade run as an independent business that took it from Stanford University startup at the dawn of the internet age to also-ran behind nimbler online rivals such as Google and Facebook.

    Verizon will pay cash in a deal that includes Yahoo real estate, but excludes some intellectual property, which will be sold separately. Yahoo will be left with its stakes in Alibaba Group Holding and Yahoo Japan, with a combined market value of about $US40 billion.

    The telecommunications company will add Yahoo web services that still draw 1 billion monthly users, including mail, news and sports content and financial tools, gaining share in the $US187 billion digital-advertising market - though it will nevertheless be a distant third behind Google and Facebook. Verizon, the largest US wireless carrier, also gets smaller but faster-growing assets including mobile applications and advertising technology for video and handheld devices.

    "We have enormous respect for what Yahoo has accomplished: this transaction is about unleashing Yahoo's full potential, building upon our collective synergies, and strengthening and accelerating that growth," AOL chief executive officer Tim Armstrong said Monday in a statement. "Combining Verizon, AOL and Yahoo will create a new powerful competitive rival in mobile media, and an open, scaled alternative offering for advertisers and publishers."

    The deal amounts to an admission that Yahoo has lost much of its relevance as modern internet use shifts toward mobile, social networking and messaging. The "portal", officially formed in 1995 by Stanford students Jerry Yang and David Filo, was once indispensable, serving as the on-ramp to the online world for millions of consumers just discovering the internet. Yahoo's decline, which began with the rise of Google as the preferred search engine for web surfers and advertisers, was hastened in the past decade by management missteps and a failure to keep up with users' changing habits.

    With annual sales forecast to drop to their lowest in more than a decade, an abandoned plan to spin off Yahoo's valuable Asian assets, and rising pressure from investors, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer had no choice but to put the company's core up for sale earlier this year. Now, Verizon must find a way to turn around a business that, even after strategy shifts and job cuts, remains bloated with costs and held back by a fragmented product lineup.

    "We see this deal as signifying something of an ignominious end for Yahoo," Mark Mahaney, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, said in a research note. It "says something about how much of a Have More and Have Less sector the consumer internet sector has become."

    Mayer planning to stay

    The deal also ends the turnaround efforts of Mayer, whose appointment in 2012 was lauded by Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Mayer, Google's No. 20 employee and its first female engineer, was hailed as a potential saviour for a foundering company in management disarray. This wunderkind, who gained renown for tending Google's spartan home page, applied her engineering chops to building new products and restoring Yahoo's long-lost technological prowess. Yet her four-year effort - including spending billions of dollars on acquisitions and developing and updating mobile apps - did little to win a new generation of users, attract more advertising dollars or fend off competition from Google in search and Facebook in social media. Mayer said Monday she would remain at the company.

    "I'm planning to stay," Mayer said in a post on the company's website. "It's important to me to see Yahoo into its next chapter."

    Yahoo will be integrated with Verizon's AOL under Marni Walden, executive vice president of the product innovation and new businesses organisation at Verizon. Walden said she and Armstrong planned to meet with Mayer this week.

    "Marissa will be very key to successful integration," Walden said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. "It's premature to talk about who will be in what roles" longer term, she said.

    Yahoo will change its name when the deal closes, hanging onto its cash, patents and stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan, with a combined market value of about $US40 billion. The company said it will return cash to shareholders and update investors on plans for the other assets later.

    In the late 1990s, Yahoo was the site where many people learned how to navigate the World Wide Web by serving up links from a handy search box and aggregating news and other content from disparate sources. The company went public in 1996 at $US13 a share, part of a wave of internet IPOs that included Netscape Communications, Excite and Lycos. Its stock more than doubled in its first day of trading, buoyed by optimism that the internet would someday become a meaningful advertising medium.

    In an interview, Mayer said she began to look at how a sale could work for Yahoo's core operations in December, following a decision to scrap a spinoff of the Alibaba stake. The goal was a separation while still getting a "strategic advantage" for the operating business, she said.

    "We needed to separate the Alibaba stake," she said. "I really came to the conclusion we could kill two birds with one stone."

    'Foundational' piece of current economy

    Activist investor Starboard Value LP, a longtime Yahoo critic, stepped up its campaign to pressure Mayer to act, including threatening to oust the board through a proxy battle. In April, Yahoo struck an agreement with Starboard by naming several new directors, including Jeffrey Smith, Starboard's CEO. As part of the deal, Smith joined the strategic review committee.

    In the first quarter of 2016, Yahoo sales fell 18 per cent to $US859.4 million, even as rivals such as Google parent Alphabet and Facebook posted respective revenue gains of 18 per cent and 52 per cent. Yahoo is projected to grab just 1.5 per cent of the global digital ad market this year, down from 2.1 per cent in 2015, according to EMarketer. Google is forecast to command 30.9 per cent. Facebook's slice will grow to 12 per cent, the researcher said.

    "We all mistakes, and I actually made my fair share here," Mayer said. "That said, I tend to be much more focused on the future, how do we learn from them and how do we get better over time."

    Though Mayer expressed confidence in the turnaround plan as recently as this year, she said such efforts sometimes take five to seven years. Investors weren't that patient.

    "It's just so unfortunate that it's kind of ending in a fire sale," said Shar VanBoskirk, an analyst at Forrester Research. "It was such a foundational piece of the current economy."


    Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff just made a bold prediction about the future of tech

    Business Insider

    When you think of artificial intelligence these days, it’s easy to think of the chat bots that the tech industry seems obsessed with. And chat bots as they exist today are pretty underwhelming.

    But Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says that artificial intelligence is way bigger than that, and is really the next big thing after mobile and social changed the tech world over the past five years.

    Smart computers that can think, talk, reason, and predict will be able to do more than just search Google for us, or order a pizza. They will eventually do stuff we haven’t even imagined yet. Benioff, talking to analysts during its quarterly conference call, called this the “AI-first world.”

    Right now, Salesforce is trying to hit a milestone of $10 billion in sales. It promises that its current fiscal year will end with over $8 billion in revenue. He believes artificial intelligence is how Salesforce will keep growing.

    “We are introducing this AI wrapper,” he explained. “Artificial intelligence is becoming part of Sales Cloud” and it will eventually be part of all of the company’s apps.


    The biggest names in Sydney tech have a plan to transform the start up scene

    Business Insider

    The best and brightest of Australia’s start up and tech scene are coming together to create a new industry group which will mentor and grow promising tech companies.

    Known as TechSydney, the group has been created by Spreets founder Dean McEvoy, the “godfather” of Sydney’s start up scene Mick Liubinskas, Riley Batchelor and Gen Bachelor. The aim is to make Sydney a global tech leader and it’s looking to do so by solving the big problems that have seen the city fall behind the rest of the world’s start up ecosystem.

    In 2012 Sydney was ranked 12th in the world, while as of last year it had slipped to 16th. TechSydney believes this is due to all of the city’s start up groups working in isolation, despite their common goal, which has limited their impact and ability to change the sector.

    The not-for-profit group has already gained some huge support, with the likes of Atlassian, Canva, LinkedIn, Airbnb, Tyro, Prospa, Airtree Ventures, Reinventure, Blackbird Ventures, and 30 more companies backing it.


    NBN hits 2 million connections towards 2020 target of 8 million


    The NBN now has 2 million premises across Australia connected to its network, but has a massive task ahead to reach its target of 8 million homes connected to the broadband network by 2020 when the rollout is scheduled for completion.

    And, there’s still a big task ahead for the National Broadband Network. Just to reach its earlier target of around 4.4 million connections by 2018 requires a near doubling of weekly connections if they continue at the current rate.

    But, the challenge to meet the optimistic targets was met with confidence by CEO Bill Morrow when presenting the financials for the third quarter to the end of March.

    The quarterly results reveal that for the three months, 338,287 homes and businesses were newly connected and Morrow says, on average, 14,000 new premises are being connected each week.


    Australia among the leading countries executing digital transformation


    MuleSoft’s 2016 Connectivity Benchmark Report, surveyed 802 IT decision makers (ITDMs) globally. It explored IT challenges and the role of APIs in meeting digital transformation. The report revealed that Australia is leading in IT budget growth, execution of digital transformation initiatives and API strategy adoption, among the countries surveyed.

    The survey found 73% of Australian organisations are executing on digital transformation strategies – more than any other country surveyed – with 43% reporting significant progress. However, just 4% have completed their digital transformation goals. The results also showed roadblocks to progress with Australia reporting the highest level of misalignment between business priorities and IT investments, as well as the lack of executive support.

    Additionally, 38% of Australian organisations said a lack of the right skills and experience within the IT team and integrating siloed apps and data were challenges to achieving digital transformation initiatives.


    Strong Asia-Pac revenue growth continues for LinkedIn


    LinkedIn's Asia-Pacific revenue shot up 32% to $US64.5 million in the September quarter, according to results posted overnight.

    Globally, the professional network's quarterly revenue rose 37% year-on-year to $US779.6 million, boosted by growth in its talent solution business, which increased revenue 46% to $US502 million.

    Marketing solutions contributed $US140 million in revenue, up 28%, while premium subscriptions accounted for $US138 million of LinkedIn's turnover, up 21%.

    After big increases in its spend on sales and marketing and product development, however, LinkedIn reported an operating loss of $US36.7 million.

    Its net loss increased from $US4.2 million last year to $US40 million.

    CEO Jeff Weiner told investors LinkedIn's membership numbers in the quarter grew 20% to 396 million and, since quarter end, the professional network has reached the 400 million member milestone.


    Labour hire workers account for 1% of Australian workforce: ABS


    Five per cent of all employed people in Australia found their job through a labour hire or recruitment company, according to the ABS's annual Characteristics of Employment report.

    Some 599,800 of the 11.6 million Australians who were employed as of August last year found their job through a labour hire or employment services provider, but just 124,400 of those workers, or 21%, remained employed in an on-hire capacity.

    Of the workers who found their role through a labour hire firm, 59% were males, 28% were aged 35–44, and 27% were aged 25–34.

    The highest proportion of on-hire workers were in manufacturing (19%), followed by admin and support services (16%).

    In addition, just over one million Australians work as independent contractors, with the largest proportion working in construction (31%), followed by professional, scientific and technical services (16%).


    Permanent ICT hiring market improves


    Permanent roles are accounting for a greater proportion of placements in the ICT sector and taking less time to fill, according to figures from ITCRA.

    The majority of roles remain contract positions, but ITCRA's quarterly ICT Employment Trends Report has shown an improving trend in permanent placements over the past three quarters.

    Permanent roles accounted for just 9% of placements in the March quarter, which improved to 11% in the June quarter and 14% in the September quarter, according to the report, which is based on data from ITCRA members, SEEK, and job market research company Burning Glass.

    The state with the largest proportion of permanent roles is Victoria (19%), followed by Queensland (14%), and SA and NSW (both 12%).

    The time it takes to fill permanent positions also declined from 60 days in the three months to June to 52 days in the September quarter.

    ITCRA CEO Julie Mills said ICT is performing slightly better than the general employment market.

    "ICT continues its shift towards developing new talent engagement strategies with tactics including: increasing permanent headcount, downward pressure on remuneration (particularly affecting upper-brackets) and increasing the use of non-monetary benefits," she said.


    Women in tech: government alone can't end structural discrimination

    SMH Technology

    Frustration was the elephant in the room at a women in tech panel on Tuesday night, hosted as part of Start Up Week in Sydney. Frustration at having to fight for our right to be taken seriously at work and to be given the same allowances to actually put our personalities on display. Frustration with having to come home from work to find we're not wanted on the internet either.

    There seemed to be some agreement among the attendees that the government needs to do more to protect women from hostile working environments. But unfortunately there are some things that the government can't fix.

    Sometimes it's damn awful being a woman in tech. I have worked in offices where the word "hysterical" was chucked around willy-nilly (a word every woman loves to hear in the workplace, FYI).

    I have seen men with less experience and time-in get promoted while other women's career trajectories plateaued. I have also worked with women who — presumably, in order to survive — turned on each other and become their own worst enemies.

    On the internet, it's worse. I've had my face compared to a collapsed lung and a clown's anus. And those are just the ones humorous enough to print. But other times my job is fun and surprising, and fascinating.


    Don't worry, technology is going to create jobs not kill them


    Digital platforms make markets more transparent and efficient, which is exactly the kind of disruption today's labour markets need, writes Michael Spence.

    This is an age of anxiety about the job-killing effects of automation, with dire headlines warning that the rise of robots will render entire occupational categories obsolete. But this fatalism assumes that we are powerless to harness what we create to improve our lives – and, indeed, our jobs.

    Evidence of technology's potential to help resolve our job concerns can be found in online talent platforms. Digital platforms already have transformed many parts of the economy. The online marketplaces built by Amazon and Alibaba, for example, have reshaped the retail landscape, partly by changing the local nature of retail markets.

    Online talent platforms apply a similar approach to the world of work – with a similar impact. By creating regional, national, and even global job markets, they allow employers to tap into broader talent pools and connect job seekers with a wider universe of opportunities. In this way, they have transformed the typical job search, and are now approaching the critical mass needed to move employment numbers.


    DHS CIO appeals to tech grads with a social conscience


    Pilot recruitment drive to lure high performers into public service. Department of Human Services CIO Gary Sterrenberg is attempting to lure 150 of the country’s best tech graduates into a career in the public service.

    As part of a new pilot grad program, the CIO group is taking applications from grads until October 23, for positions within the DHS' Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra ICT hubs.

    Sterrenberg today called on in-demand science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) grads to consider the national importance of the DHS when weighing up their career options.

    “Not many people realise how big the department’s ICT operations are – our in-house technology workforce plays a crucial part in delivering over $100 billion in welfare payments to 7.3 million Australians each year,” he said.

    “The public sector is not always front of mind for graduates considering their future careers, but it should be. The scale and innovative use of technology at the department makes us a truly unique employer in the industry."

    The DHS is currently in the early stages of one of the biggest IT infrastructure projects underway in Australia, the replacement of its 30 year-old Centrelink payments system.


    Media releases


    Media releases

    Please see below for Finite's recent media releases, as well as archives from past years. We are always delighted to hear from journalists and will gladly help with industry commentary when our opinions or expertise will add to your story.

    Indigenous project management pilot set to have a big impact

    Indigenous project management pilot set to have a big impact's logo

    Finite Group was pleased to participate as major sponsor of a new Indigenous training initiative that recently took place in Sydney. Finite joined up with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) and National Aboriginal College (NAC) in delivering a one week professional development program in project management for Indigenous cohorts. The eight participants, most already working in project management, gained highly practical tools, immediately applicable to their current work.

    The main program objective was to increase employment opportunities, however the capability uplift should also have a far-reaching impact, given the profoundly significant community projects the participants are involved in, which


    A Moree based participant employed in child protection that is working towards reducing the number of Indigenous children being removed from their families.

    Another is working to save an Indigenous language, holding gatherings and inviting local children to come and learn the language.

    Three participants from UNSW are working on a project to help more Indigenous people identify university as a career path.

    Another is bringing together local aboriginal artists to exhibit their work.

    Concluding last week, the successful Sydney pilot comprised of one day cultural positioning hosted by Norma Ingram (National Aboriginal College); three days project management training run by Kestrel Stone (Founder Elemental Projects and Councillor at the NSW Chapter of the AIPM); and finally a session on job readiness by Niall Clerkin (Finite Group’s Regional Manager). The end of the program was marked with a Commencement Ceremony attended by participants, local community and AIPM members.

    AIPM’s Kestrel Stone says “Indigenous projects in Australia have far-reaching and profound impacts on not only Indigenous people, businesses and communities, but also on non-Indigenous people and industries across the country. Building Indigenous project management capability supports a more diverse and inclusive workforce. It also provides a strong, ethical foundation for project-based industries, which celebrates multi-culturalism, reconciliation, sustainability, and economic prosperity.”

    NAC’s Norma Ingram says “Programs like these increase employment opportunities for our people in the public sector, particularly in local government, as well as help participants in their project-based community work. I see this program as being really beneficial for those already in project management, providing structure and training for people often left to learn on the job. Non-government organisations don’t always receive the government funding required to train and upskill their staff so it is critically important for Corporates to step in and fill the gap.”

    Finite’s Niall Clerkin says “Deciding to finance this pilot program and to partner with AIPM and NAC was an easy decision. Being aware of an issue is not enough. Corporates need to be willing to devote resources in the form of time, money and expertise to support community projects. The Finite Group is very proud to be involved in this initiative, and humbled by the dedication and knowledge of the participating partners. Hopefully this is the beginning of a continuous program, offering genuine opportunities to Indigenous cohorts.”

    The Indigenous Procurement Policy introduced in 2015, legislated that federally funded projects are required to contribute at least 0.5% of their budget toward Indigenous suppliers. This equates to $297 million dollars’ worth of project spend across the country. This is also set to grow by half a percent per year, to 3% by 2020. This and other initiatives show the increasing support for building Indigenous project management capability, and Indigenous workforce participation generally.

    Tracy Thomson Named 2016 Australian Recruitment Leader of the Year

    Tracy Thomson Named 2016 Australian Recruitment Leader of the Year's logo

    Finite’s MD, Tracy Thomson, was awarded “2016 Australian Recruitment Leader of the Year” at the SEEK Annual Recruitment Awards (SARA) in Melbourne last week.

    The SARAs celebrate innovation and excellence within the recruitment industry. They recognise Australia’s finest recruitment agencies and individuals, as chosen by a panel of expert judges.

    Tracy founded Finite as a start-up in 1998 and is still active in all aspects of the business today, directly responsible for the overall company strategy and direction, sales and key customer relations. A genuine passion for her work, strong leadership by example and an incredible ability to inspire others, have been the key drivers behind Tracy’s ongoing success.

    Tracy said: “I’m both thrilled and honoured to receive this prestigious award. We have made a steadfast commitment to lead the way in providing innovative services and products, always emphasising great customer service and candidate delivery. Our ability to exceed our client’s expectations time and again, and to source hard to find candidates, I can attribute to my extraordinary and collaborative team, who have helped build Finite into today’s leading ANZ enterprise.”

    The win comes off the back of a successful year for Finite with continued growth in revenue and market share, including expansion across the Tasman with the acquisition of NZ’s specialist IT recruiter, NineTwenty.

    International Recognition for Tracy Thomson

    International Recognition for Tracy Thomson's logo

    Finite’s MD, Tracy Thomson, has been recognised again by Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) on its 2016 Global Power 100 - Women in Staffing and International 50 lists.

    SIA is an independent global adviser on staffing and workforce solutions. Its Global Power 100 list showcases female leaders who have made significant contributions to the recruitment industry, as nominated by their industry peers. Only a handful of Australian recipients have been recognised on both lists.

    Tracy Thomson says “I am deeply honoured to be included amongst such extraordinary international talent. These women work incredibly hard, paving the way for the next generation of successful business women. Their dedication and commitment is to be commended as they drive the recruitment industry forward to even greater heights.

    Tracy founded Finite Recruitment in Australia in 1998, having relocated from the UK in 1997. Through a mixture of organic growth and acquisition, Finite has grown into a network of nine offices across Australia and New Zealand.

    Tracy has won a number of high-profile accolades, including recently being named SEEK’s “2016 Australian Recruitment Leader of the Year”.

    For more information on the Global Power 100 – Women in Staffing list go to http://si100women.staffingindustry.com/2016-global-power-100-women-at-a-glance/

    Finite IT Recruitment Solutions’ MD Tracy Thomson has been named Finalist for Recruitment Leader of the Year in the 2016 Seek Annual Recruitment Awards (SARA).

    The SARA’s recognise and celebrate innovation, leadership, professionalism and best practice within the recruitment sector. Finalists have demonstrated their extensive ability to foster relationships, solve problems, communicate effectively and adapt to change. Also recognised is their capacity to inspire and motivate others, making an impact within their business and on the recruitment sector as a whole.

    Tracy Thomson says “I am honoured and very excited to be included on this all female list of accomplished and successful industry leaders. It’s also great to be attending the SARA’s again!”

    Tracy has won a number of high-profile accolades, including Regional and National winner in the 2007 Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” awards in the Business Services category; Finite was a past SARA winner in 2010 in the Large IT Recruiter category; and a SARA finalist again in 2011.

    Winners will be announced at a black tie event on Thursday, 10 November 2016 at Glasshouse in Melbourne.

    For more information on the 2016 Seek Annual Recruitment Awards, go to http://www.seeksara.com/awards/finalists/2016-finalists

    Finite Wins Best IT Recruitment Firm 2016 – Australia

    We are delighted to announce that Finite have been named "Best IT Recruitment Firm 2016 - Australia" by the UK's CV Magazine. Recognising only the very best from across the industry, these awards are designed to focus on the firms, and the people behind them, that have driven the industry's reputation for diligence, dedication and intuition. The program reward and recognise the very best consultants, recruiters and industry experts from around the world, regardless of business size or reputation. Skill, dedication and client service are the key focus, not profits or location.

    Steve Simpson, Awards Co-ordinator, commented: “This awards programme recognises the hard work, professionalism and dedication of those whose role it is to keep the global job market moving. As such it is my great honour to turn the spotlight on our deserving winners.”

    Tracy Thomson, Finite's MD, commented that "winning this recognition is a real achievement for everyone involved across the agency, from our excellent Account Managers to Resource Coordinators, and our highly proficient Support Staff and Management team. It’s also a real motivator to deliver even better customer service going forward."

    “As an agency, we have always been at the forefront of innovation in terms of expanding our range of services and focussing on technology hotspots in the market, and we continue to invest heavily each year in our team, our offices, our technology, and our business strategy. For these reasons, we believe we are well placed to retain our leadership within the specialist technology recruitment sector.”

    Finite Jumps to 158th on this year's Top 500 List

    Leading technology people and services provider, Finite Group, has jumped 57 places in this year’s AFR Top 500 Private Companies List as compiled by IBIS World and published in the AFR on 1st September, up from 215th to 158th.

    Group revenues for FY16 at over $345M (subject to audit) were up by 35%+ on last year on the back of exceptional organic growth within a very buoyant ANZ technology sector, as well as a recent New Zealand acquisition, NineTwenty, which completed in February.

    Finite Group’s revenues are made up roughly 60:40 with about 60% of revenue coming from technology and digital recruitment (Finite / NineTwenty), and 40% coming from its fast expanding technology consulting and solutions services business (FinXL).

    Commenting on the results, Group Managing Director, Tracy Thomson, confirmed that:

    “The Group has undergone a significant business transformation across ANZ in the last 12 months, and we have re-shaped our service offerings to meet evolving market opportunities and emerging sectors. The Group is well positioned to continue on its current growth trajectory in FY17 and beyond, with more business improvement initiatives and acquisition activity already underway.

    Technology is increasingly playing an ever larger role in facilitating growth and driving business productivity, particularly with Digital Transformation, Cloud, Analytics and Cyber Security all featuring prominently as necessary areas for investment. The Group has progressively realigned our services around these growth areas with a suite of innovative new service offerings that have been very well received in the market.

    Our continued investment in our sales and delivery teams, our facilities and our technology support systems’ have also played an important role in ensuring we can secure the best talent and meet client delivery expectations, with sustainability always featuring at the forefront of our planning. FY16 has seen all parts of the Group achieving revenue growth and increased market share, with Finite and FinXL both posting similar year on year organic growth of 35%+.

    New Zealand is also a very important and relatively new market for the Group, now into our second year of trading, and significantly boosted by the recent NineTwenty technology recruitment acquisition. This has added some great people and a similar NZ blue chip client base. Although still early days, the integration is going well, new opportunities abound and we are already seeing substantial growth from this trusted and well respected NZ brand.

    FinXL has had another outstanding year with continued expansion through new service offerings, particularly the specialist digital division, XL digital, which successfully launched last October. All the indications are that there is strong market demand for FinXL’s multi award winning services across the Tasman, with FinXL NZ securing its first major project win, with others in the pipeline.

    We are also proud to be the recipient of further industry awards, with Finite recently being named as “Best IT Recruitment Firm Australia, 2016” by CV Magazine; and FinXL winning its third consecutive ABA100 Australian Business Award, this year for “Business Innovation”, following wins for “Service Excellence” in 2015; and “Entrepreneurship” in 2014.

    Finite Group Highlights for FY16 include:

    Exceptional (35%+) year on year revenue growth for Finite IT Recruitment Solutions and FinXL IT Professional Services;

    Finite NZ stepping up to be a top 3 technology recruitment provider in the busy NZ market following the acquisition of leading local agency NineTwenty;

    Successfully launching FinXL’s specialist digital division, XL digital, last October;

    Finite was named as “Best IT Recruitment Firm Australia – 2016” by CV Magazine;

    FinXL won its third consecutive ABA100 Australian Business Award, this year it was for “Business Innovation”, following wins for “Service Excellence” in 2015; and “Entrepreneurship” in 2014.

    Successful launch of FinXL NZ into the New Zealand market on the back of a major new client project win.

    Finite’s City2Surf Team raise $5,000 for Barnardos!

    Finite’s City2Surf Team raise $5,000 for Barnardos!'s logo

    A team of five from Finite once again participated in this year’s Sydney City2Surf 14km fun run on Sunday 14th August raising over $5,000 for Barnardos Australia. Now in its 46th year, the 80,000 plus City2Surf entrants make it officially “the greatest fun run in the world”, and the day when Sydney’s eastern suburbs literally drown in community spirit. The picturesque route starts in Sydney’s CBD following the harbour shoreline through the Eastern suburbs, up the notorious “Heartbreak Hill” and then down again to Bondi.

    Finite Regional Manager and Team Captain, Niall Clerkin, commented that “I think of it as Christmas for Sydney siders. Let me explain: All humanity’s best qualities are on show. Thousands of volunteers manage, encourage, feed, resuscitate, support, assist, cajole and protect over 80,000 participants from Hyde Park in the City Centre, through a meandering (and mostly uphill it seems) course to Bondi Beach. Families, friends, companies, clubs and societies all get involved by creating teams, getting fit and raising money. Millions are raised for charities of every description. Even the clothes discarded at the starting line, keeping the runners warm until the last minutes before the race, are collected for donation to charities. It was also a beautiful winter’s day, all helping make it a truly great day!”

    Barnardos Australia is one of the leading child protection charities in Australia, very much at the forefront finding real, and permanent solutions for Australian children in desperate need. This is the first year Finite has supported Barnardos, raising over $5,000 of the $18,000 total they raised at this year’s event, and double what they raised last year! Please visit http://www.barnardos.org.au/ for further information.

    Finite Acquires Leading NZ Technology Specialist 920

    Finite Acquires Leading NZ Technology Specialist 920's logo

    Finite Group is pleased to announce the purchase of leading New Zealand IT recruitment business, Ninetwenty. This is in line with Finite’s strategic plan to become a prominent national specialist IT recruitment provider to the banking and finance, telecommunications, technology, commercial and Government sectors within New Zealand, building upon the success of Finite’s existing Auckland office.

    The acquisition includes 920’s substantial Contractor base, transferral of all staff across Auckland and Wellington, and numerous high profile 'preferred supplier agreements'.

    Finite established its NZ business in 2014 and has already developed an excellent reputation within the Auckland market for sourcing and delivery of high quality Technology, Digital, Project Services and Business Transformation professionals. Combining this with the established and highly successful 920 business will produce revenues in excess of NZ$50m per annum.

    Completion of the acquisition on 1st February created one of New Zealand’s largest specialist providers of contract and permanent Technology staff to leading corporations and Government Departments, and enables the enlarged group to provide a broader range of service offerings to its extended client base.

    Finite’s Managing Director, Tracy Thomson, commented that the purchase was "an excellent opportunity to acquire a highly regarded large national agency with a substantial contracting base, strong permanent capability and a very experienced and talented team. This elevates us to a top 3 IT specialist agency in both Australia and New Zealand. Looking ahead, this important acquisition provides a strong platform for future growth, both extending the Group’s reach in NZ as well as offering added value services."

    920 Founding Director Mark Chote comments “Blending our domestic capability with the expansive network and resources of the Finite group is the perfect response to our market conditions. Technology staffing is a global play and this is a really progressive step forward for our clients, contractors and most importantly our team.”

    Going forward, the successful 920 brand will be retained as part of the Finite Group.

    Media contact

    Please get in touch with Duncan Thomson on 02 8243 6868 or via email.


    Finite in the news


    Finite in the news

    Please see below for recent media articles related to Finite, as well as archives from past years. We are always delighted to hear from journalists and will gladly help with industry commentary when our opinions or expertise will add to your story.

    Finite Wins 'Best IT Recruitment Firm - Australia' - CV Magazine

    Finite City2Surf Team Raises Funds for Barnardos

    Deal sees Finite step forward on IT recruitment stage.


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