Wednesday, 24 May 2017 19:36

Jobs boost of 40K for Australia’s ICT sector, but big task to keep up pace Featured

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Jobs boost of 40K for Australia’s ICT sector, but big task to keep up pace Image courtesy of Sujin Jetkasettakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Newly published figures show that 40,000 jobs were created in Australia’s ICT sector in the two years between 2015 and 2016, but the task ahead to create and grow the country’s ICT workforce further is a major challenge for the industry.

The country’s professional association, the Australian Computer Society (ACS), says 81,000 jobs are needed by 2022 to fuel future technology-led growth, describing the last two years as a “digital boom” for the industry.

The ACS, however, is optimistic, with the report — prepared for the society by Deloitte Access Economics — showing that strong growth in the ICT workforce is expected to continue right through to 2022.

According to ACS president Anthony Wong, meeting the need for 81,000 jobs in the period to 2022 will be a critical priority for Australia, and investment in the industry is vital.

“Technology skills are fast becoming the engine room of the Australian economy. To fast-track our nation’s digital transformation, and ensure the ICT skills base is there to meet demand, we need a clear strategy and dedicated investment focus in this area,” he said.

The ACS Digital pulse report for 2017 was launched at CeBIT in Sydney on Wednesday.

LinkedIn director of public policy for Asia Pacific Nick O’Donnell also weighed in, noting that Australia’s skills shift was accelerating and expanding across every industry.

“We are seeing significant hiring of tech talent by non-tech companies. Half of the top 20 industries hiring ICT workers in 2016 were non-tech, the most active industries being financial services, which jumped from 12th position in 2015 to up to fourth in 2016,” O’Donnell said.

“LinkedIn’s data also shows that the top skills demanded by employers hiring new ICT workers includes a balance of technical skills and broader business skills. Business skills such as Relationship Management, Business Strategy and Strategic Planning in combination with technical skills are highly sought after to drive digitisation of business processes.”

Addressing what the ACS describes as Australia’s skilled ICT shortfall, Wong says the ACS is actively championing the uptake of coding in schools, better support for teachers in the delivery of emerging technology areas, the establishment of multidisciplinary degrees, and relevant training programmes to help to build a pipeline of workers with valuable ICT skills.

“In a skills shortage environment, skilled migration is an important lever for developing competitive advantage for the nation. However, it needs to be targeted, and needs to address the genuine skills gaps in the domestic market, while ensuring migrant workers are not exploited.”

Deloitte Access Economics partner John O’Mahony said Australian employers were placing a high value on ICT skills against the backdrop of digital technologies being increasingly fundamental to a thriving economy.

According to O’Mahony, as business disruption becomes more widespread, “businesses need a strong ICT core to manage change – making ICT workers and ICT skills the bread and butter behind that change”.

The report by Deloitte highlights a so-called “to-do’ list” for government.

The list includes multiplying digital precincts, prioritising cyber skills, transitioning education and getting more people to study ICT, supporting Aussie start-ups, the next steps for the NBN and wireless technology, and focusing on efforts towards open data, digitising government, and copyright reform.

 To download the ACS’ full Digital Pulse report click here.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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