Australia's Digital Pulse 2021

Perspectives

ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse 2021

Future directions for Australia’s technology workforce

This report from Deloitte Access Economics and the Australian Computer Society provides an annual snapshot of trends in the Australian digital economy and workforce. The 2021 report considers how the technology workforce and digital ways of working in Australia have been impacted in the year since the COVID-19 pandemic began. While strong demand for additional technology workers in Australia is expected to persist, this edition focuses on three key areas to improve the quality, in addition to the quantity of technology workers.

Australia’s Digital Pulse 2021

In the year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, digital technology has become even more important to Australian businesses, workforce, and the economy. Technology workers are key to enabling the extra demand for digital infrastructure and services. The technology workforce in Australia grew by 33,400 workers in 2020, reaching a new peak of 805,525 workers. By 2026, Deloitte Access Economics forecasts there will be over 1.1 million technology workers in Australia.

But the future development and use of technology relies on more than just additional workers. This year’s edition of Australia’s Digital Pulse focuses on three key areas to ensure the technology workforce has the skills and capabilities to meet the demands of businesses and Australian society more broadly.

Australia’s Digital Pulse 2021

Australia’s Digital Pulse 2020

This year ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse explores the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19 on the technology workforce and demand for technology across the economy more broadly. COVID-19 has affected every industry in Australia – including the technology sector. Forecasts in this report estimate that COVID-19 will lead to 35,000 fewer technology workers in the Australian economy between March and December 2020. Despite this short-term disruption, assuming the health and economic shockwaves of COVID-19 subside in the next two years, Deloitte Access Economics estimate there will be 1 million technology workers in Australia by 2027. However, to keep up with global leaders will require double the current forecasted rate of growth in the workforce. Attaining the full benefits of digital technology will require policy designed to promote investment in digital technology and skills.

Australia’s Digital Pulse 2020

Australia’s Digital Pulse 2019

This 2019 edition forecasts that demand for technology workers will grow by 100,000 between 2018 and 2024 in trend terms, with the technology workforce increasing to 792,000 workers. The pipeline of technology workers is gradually improving: enrolments in IT degrees by domestic university students have increased by over 50% since the low of the late 2000s, and for the first time since the Digital Pulse has been published, female representation in the technology workforce has increased to 29% in 2018.

However, more will be needed for Australia to reap the full benefits of digital innovation. This report explores how the government can act on the highest policy priority for the digital economy: skills development. This includes through reskilling workers from other sectors to meet employer demand for technology skills. Digitally enabled growth also requires investments in new technologies, which includes improving the start-up landscape and reducing the gap between Australia’s tax settings and regimes in other countries.

Australia’s Digital Pulse 2019

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Australia's Digital Pulse 2018

This report, commissioned by the Australian Computer Society, examines Australia’s digital performance on the international stage across four themes: consumers, businesses, ICT sector and workforce skills. Overall, we find ourselves in the middle of the pack amongst 16 developed economies, with average relative ranking of 7 out of 16.

Our ICT workforce grew to 663,100 workers in 2017, increasing by 3.5% over last year’s report. Demand for ICT workers is set to grow by almost 100,000 to 758,700 workers by 2023, by which time almost 3 million Australian workers will be employed in occupations that use ICT regularly as part of their jobs.

Improving Australia’s international digital competitiveness will require developing and attracting highly skilled ICT workers, and a policy environment that accelerates technology investment and digital business activity.

Australia's Digital Pulse 2018

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Australia's Digital Pulse 2017

Australia’s Digital Pulse – produced by Deloitte Access Economics for the Australian Computer Society (ACS) – provides an annual snapshot of trends in the Australian digital economy and workforce. This year, the report examines policies that can support technology-led growth and the digital workforce boom.

There has been a boom in the growth of Australia’s information and communications technology (ICT) workforce in recent years, from around 600,000 workers in 2014 to more than 640,000 workers in 2016. Strong growth in the ICT workforce is expected to continue, reaching 722,000 workers by 2022. This represents average annual growth of 2.0%, compared to 1.4% for the Australian workforce as a whole.

The ongoing strong demand for ICT workers and skills is consistent with the significant role digital technologies will continue to play in driving Australia’s economic growth.

Australia's Digital Pulse 2017

Australia's Digital Pulse 2016

The contribution of digital technologies to the Australian economy is forecast to grow from $79 billion in 2014 to $139 billion in 2020. This represents growth of over 75% and an increase in the digital economy from 5% to 7% of Australia’s GDP. The vast majority of this growth (97%) is expected to take place in sectors outside of the traditional Information, Media and Telecommunications industry.

Demand for ICT workers is therefore forecast to increase in the future and Australia’s ICT workforce is expected to increase to around 695,000 ICT workers by 2020. To position the Australian economy to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by new technologies, we must ensure that the workforce is equipped with the ICT skills required for innovation and growth.

Commissioned by the Australian Computer Society, this report provides a snapshot of the digital economy, occupational analysis, workforce planning and development, and an insight into future directions.

Australia's Digital Pulse 2016

Australia's Digital Pulse 2015

In 2015 Deloitte Access Economics and the Australian Computer Society Australia’s partnered to produce Australia's Digital Pulse which examines how digital disruption is dramatically changing industries and occupations across the economy.

The report found there has been 5% growth in the number of ICT professionals, with an increase to 600,000 ICT workers in 2014, and demand for a further 100,000 workers over the next six years. Despite the demand, the number of graduates with ICT qualifications has declined significantly since the early 2000s.

The report shows that Australia needs a workforce that is equipped with the ICT skills necessary to fuel its digitally-driven economic growth. This creates an enormous opportunity for students considering a career in ICT.

Published: May 2021

Australia's Digital Pulse 2015
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