Firms planning to take on more people as customer demand rises, research shows.

The overwhelming majority of Auckland information and communications technology employers are planning to hire new staff this year as new projects are rolled out and customer demand increases, research shows.

The Auckland Market Insight report, by information and communications technology (ICT) recruitment specialists Absolute IT, says 76 per cent of ICT employers in the city are planning to recruit permanent staff or contractors in 2013 - a 4 per cent increase on the year before.

Absolute IT's research is based on surveys of 1500 professionals and 200 employers in the sector.

New projects and increased customer demand account for 37 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively, of recruitment activity, the report said.


It said the top skills employers were seeking were software development (36 per cent), networking and infrastructure (27 per cent), project management (12 per cent) and business analysis (12 per cent).

Martin Barry, general manager and director of Absolute IT Auckland, said the city's ICT job market was buoyant.

"We're continuing to see a very competitive market," said Barry. "To attract the best talent employers not only need to offer competitive employment packages at market remuneration rates, but they also need to consider the other non-financial benefits job seekers want [such as] flexible working hours, career development opportunities and challenging work."

The report said remuneration continued to be a crucial component in attracting new talent, with 31 per cent of professionals citing salary packages as the main deciding factor when accepting a new job.

Almost 60 per cent of ICT professionals were expecting a pay rise in 2013, while 49 per cent of employers were planning to give pay rises.

The report also said 35 per cent of professionals in the sector were planning to move overseas and 62 per cent were considering moving to a new work place in the next 12 months.

A Business Herald report this month revealed a chronic shortage of ICT skills was forcing software companies to carry out development overseas.

One website was showing 1300 ICT vacancies in Auckland alone with pay rates of up to $1500 a day being offered for some roles.

"The skills shortage today is as bad as it's ever been, which is a crazy situation when you consider overall unemployment," Paul Matthews, head of the Institute of IT Professionals, told the Business Herald. "But we have a significant problem attracting people with the right skills into the industry."

Auckland's Orion Healthcare, which develops IT systems used in hospitals, has launched an initiative aimed at changing the perception of computer science in schools and building the industry's pool of talent.

Named Codeworx, the initiative gathers industry experts, teachers and secondary school students in an online forum where "tools and incentives" aim to encourage students to take on the subject.