Demand increased for the skills of Australian project professionals in the year to July 2011 according to a survey conducted by international services firm Resources Global Professionals.
However, despite the rise in demand, three in four senior project consultants said they had to be flexible with their pay rates during this period, an indication of tough economic times.
The survey revealed that clients required project professionals to meet staff shortages (46%), execute largescale projects (42%) and offer expertise lacking in the organisation (38%).
More than 60% of the project professionals surveyed indicated that there had been more demand for their services compared with 2009/10 largely due to the recommencement of projects paused during the GFC, a need to supplement lean internal teams and a lack of in-house skills for certain projects.
“Strategic use of interim experts has proved a flexible, cost effective approach for smart companies,” remarked managing director (Asia Pacific) of Resources Global Professionals Jacinta Whelan.
She was unsurprised at the consultants’ willingness to be flexible with pay given the lifestyle it allowed. “Project specialists are attracted to this career over a traditional full-time role because of flexible hours, work variety and salary. These factors are so important that, in tough economic times, they are willing to be flexible on pay rates,” she said.
Only 16% of them expect to be able to increase their rates in the year ahead, she reported.
As for the future, just over half believed their work level will remain the same, while 28% anticipate being offered more projects and 20% forecast fewer projects.
The financial services and resources sectors provided the most project work, while government work dipped and ICT opportunities rose.