IT workers in Canberra are likely to face more competition for federal contracts as interstate rivals eye the nation's capital after a slowdown in Melbourne and Sydney markets.
And even if Treasurer Wayne Swan unveils a tough budget next month, the government's push to provide online self-service for its citizens is likely to only dent demand.
That's the analysis from Peoplebank, Australia's biggest recruitment agency for information communications and technology workers.
''There might be some moderation of demand if it's a tough budget,'' Peoplebank chief executive Peter Acheson said.
''But I don't think it's going to be cataclysmic. The outlook is pretty good.''
The Peoplebank Federal ICT Labour Hire Index, which tracks the number and value of roles for IT contractors in Canberra, estimates record spending on contractors in 2011-12.
There was growing interest in federal IT projects from workers in Sydney and Melbourne, particularly among those ''affected by slower-than-usual activity'' in financial services.
More IT workers coming to Canberra would keep a lid on payments made to contractors, which account for up to 40 per cent of the government's IT workforce.
''An influx of interstate IT professionals is likely to counter the upward pressure on rates,'' said Peoplebank, which estimated IT contractors had received about a 5 per cent pay increase since July last year.
The index stood at 1479 in December, a rise of 212 points on the previous year.
Preliminary estimates show the index hit a record 2301 in March, more than double the same period last year.
''On current trends, Peoplebank predicts the index will rise to 2680 by May 2012, making 2011-12 a record year for Canberra's IT contractors,'' the company said.