April was still a very tough month in the IT space with many organizations still trying to gain savings from their IT spend. There has been a general decrease in rates across the board driven by the market forces … less jobs and more available resources. We have also seen clients asking contractors to reduce their hours or move to four day weeks. Coast to coast activity is down significantly over last year, but there are some positive signs to be found.
April at Eagle saw a few less orders than the previous month (less demand) plus a reduction in the number of resumes flowing into our system. However in the first couple of weeks in May that trend has reversed, with both the number of orders, and the number of resumes increasing significantly. What does that mean? (a) It looks like clients are starting to invest in their IT projects again, or perhaps strengthen their teams while there is high availability; (b) the increased flow of resumes will be because there have been continuing layoffs, plus an increase in opportunities on our website will drive more traffic.
> Out West the price of oil is a huge factor and its ascent back to the $60 a barrel range is definite cause for optimism. Perhaps the TSX passing the 10,000 points mark was a sign of that optimism or better still perhaps is ANOTHER cause for optimism.
> The BC election is done, the Liberals are back in power which reduces uncertainty and we should see an increase in government activity there.
> Ottawa in recent times has been somewhat “paralysed” by the infamous “bid rigging scandal” plus a heated dispute around the Feds Shared Services initiative. Those events are settling a little and it looks like the order flow is getting back to a more normal cycle … whatever that might be!
> The Financial sector in Toronto has been one of the worst hit by this economy and perhaps the first hit, as it has been probably a year since we have seen any significant activity there. Just lately there are signs that things might be picking up.
> Quebec remains one of the quietest economies with hyper competition and significant pressure on rates.
It is still nasty “out there”, competition for business is fierce and we are nowhere near back to normal. Having said that, as discussed above, there are some good signs that there is light at the end of the tunnel … we just have to hope it is not another train!