The National Broadband Network and a resurgent financial services sector are combining to put pressure on IT skills availability, according to a new report.\nBanks and other financial sector employers have stepped up their recruiting activity as upgrades of internal systems begin again. Areas of technology skill shortage expected this year will be in ERP, development, telecommunications and integration.\nThe latest Clarius Skills Index reports that industries requiring computer professionals are under pressure, particularly in the finance sector and with the rollout of the NBN.\nThe index, which measures underlying demand and supply of skilled labour, has edged upwards over the March quarter to record the strongest skills index reading for all professionals, moving from December\u2019s 99.6 to 100.6.\nA score of 100 indicates equal tension between labour supply and demand. Anything greater than 100 indicates a skills shortage. Before the global financial crisis (GFC) in the first half of 2008, the index sat at 104.1.\nKym Quick, chief operating officer at Candle ICT, the technology division of Clarius, says the banking and finance sector is experiencing a resurgence, particularly among the bigger banks.\n\u201cANZ and NAB in Melbourne are undertaking upgrades of core banking systems,\u201d Quick said. \u201cThe Commonwealth and Westpac are engaged in upgrades and significant integration work.\u201d\nClarius predicts employers are facing a significant wages hike unless the 457 Visa rules are softened to allow more highly skilled IT professionals into Australia to meet rising post-GFC demand.\n\u201cThe demand for in-house IT professionals has also begun to recover in line with a general upswing in hiring activity,\u201d Quick said.\nQuick added the rollout of the NBN \u2013 with 37,000 jobs at its peak \u2013 is likely to create further labour demand pressures in the sector over the next few years.\n\u201cThis will have a large impact on the labour market, and given the previous tightness in this sector the Index is likely to appreciate in the near future as local labour supply struggles to keep up with increased demand," she said.\n\u201cThis will impact the major telcos [and] the smaller players which will affect the levels of skilled IT talent. The reality is, the recovery in IT has happened, the scramble to secure top talent is well underway.\u201d\nQuick says that as the shortage begins to be realised, larger organisations will rely more heavily on offshore arrangements.\nRetention strategies again will become paramount for HR departments making sure that companies have aggressive and appropriate strategies in place to keep, retain and motivate their best people, according to Clarius.\nOverall, the Skills Index rates the \u201ccomputing professionals\u201d as \u201cbalanced\u201d, with growth in the demand for computing skills reflecting a broad-based recovery in economic activity.