“Technology suppliers have a duty to sponsor programmes in universities,” he said, and to take “in more people and train them.” This would then allow graduates to later “move on and take part in a higher skilled workforce.”
Asked whether it was fair to expect technology suppliers rather than end users to do the heavy lifting with regard to graduate employment programmes, Mr Whincup said that Westpac already ran a “vibrant graduate programme”, although he was not able to say how many IT graduates were hired each year.
Mr Whincup, who is now working with the Australian Computer Society to try to drum up more interest from school students in studying IT at university, said that; “If we don’t have enough (people) at the low end then we will compete for an ever diminishing number of skilled workers” in the longer term.
Mr Whincup said ACS statistics indicated that the number of people applying to study IT at universities had halved over the last decade.
“We will never produce enough technologists to fill our own internal demand so we tap into the global supply chain…but not to the detriment of the locally grown workforce.” He said that that outsourcing decisions were generally taken not for economic reasons, but because of the dearth of locally available skills.
However earlier this year Westpac laid off 119 IT staff after offshoring the roles.