ICT skills shortage points to enormous career opportunities

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ICT skills shortage points to enormous career opportunities

Finds ACS & Deloitte

Digital disruption continues to change the role of technology across the workforce in the future

16 June 2015: The ACS (Australian Computer Society), in partnership with Deloitte Access Economics, today launched a new report, Australia’s Digital Pulse, which shows that digital technologies is one of the fastest growing parts of Australia’s economy. It found its economic contribution grew in the past three years to a 5.1% share of our GDP – from $50 billion in 2011 to $79 billion in 2013-14.

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.

John O’Mahony, Deloitte Access Economics director said: “The contribution from ICT to Australia’s economy, and our successfully meeting our productivity challenges, are at risk if we don’t ensure there is an adequate workforce equipped with the necessary ICT skills. We urgently need to boost both awareness and opportunity around ICT skills development.”

“Despite the strong growth in demand, with a projected gap of more than 100,000 ICT workers in the next five years, and declining rates of ICT graduates, we are facing a serious problem.”

The report also found that, despite the influence of digital technologies on the next generation’s future career opportunities, Australian schools are well behind in the use of digital technologies within an education setting. Currently only 3% of Year 6 students frequently use ICT in schools for technical tasks.

ACS CEO Andrew Johnson added: “An ICT career represents an outstanding opportunity for graduates in the coming decade – students, parents and careers advisors should pay attention to this fact.

“We need to look beyond stereotypes and see the future ICT professional with new eyes, with digital disruption creating jobs requiring ICT skills within a diverse range of sectors and professions. The data shows there is huge versatility in ICT.”

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Other key findings show:

  • Employment in the ICT sector is expected to grow by 2.5% per year over the next six years to 2020, compared to employment for the economy as a whole, which is forecast to grow by 1.6%
  • The gender pay gap in ICT stands at 20%, significantly lower than the workforce average of 34%
  • 47% of all workers who studied ICT are now in other professions, such as advertising, marketing or accounting
  • 43% of workers in ICT occupations studied courses other than ICT or engineering, such as commerce and management degrees
  • 52% of ICT workers are in industries outside ICT itself, including professional services, public administration and financial services
  • The highest growth rate in demand for ICT qualifications will be for postgraduates, forecast to grow at 4.2% annually over the six years to 2020.

Productivity growth in the Australian economy will be increasingly driven by digital technology in the future, particularly as the mining boom wanes. The rapidly growing digital economy means that ICT skills will play an increasingly important role in future economic growth. Australia needs to ensure that its education system, policy settings and business practices are all working towards equipping the country’s workers with the required technological skills. This will ensure that the Australian workforce is well-placed to meet the future challenges associated with digital disruption.

The solution

The report found that to address the major projected skills gap, it needs a multifaceted solution with government, businesses and education institutions and industry associations all playing a role.

As shown in the report, the ACS and Deloitte Access Economics recommend:

  • An increased national focus on growing Australia’s ICT capabilities and skills in the workforce
  • Federal and State governments accelerating the development and implementation of the Technologies component in the Australian Curriculum, with a particular focus on computing skills and training of teachers
  • Higher education institutions promote the strength and diversity of ICT related study and career paths to students
  • Businesses provide opportunities for employees to develop their ICT skills through on the job training, workshops, upskilling courses and other business development initiatives.

Brenda Aynsley, ACS President said: “It is high time that we have a stronger focus on Digital Technologies, particularly computational thinking and coding, in schools right from a foundation level, in order to prepare our next generation workforce for the future. Otherwise we are at high risk of falling behind the rest of the world in an increasingly globally connected economy.”

Australia’s Digital Pulse is a comprehensive analysis of the ICT sector and the economy (formerly known as the ICT Statistical Compendium).

Follow this link to access the report.

About the Australian Computer Society

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is the professional association for Australia's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. Over 20,000 ACS members work in business, education, government and the community. The Society exists to create the environment and provide the opportunities for members and partners to succeed. The ACS strives for ICT professionals to be recognised as drivers of innovation in our society, relevant across all sectors, and to promote the formulation of effective policies on ICT and related matters. Visit www.acs.org.au for more information.

About Deloitte

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see www.deloitte.com/au/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.
Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. Deloitte has in the region of 200,000 professionals, all committed to becoming the standard of excellence.

About Deloitte Australia
In Australia, the member firm is the Australian partnership of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. As one of Australia’s leading professional services firms, and winner of both the Australian Financial Review/CFO Audit Firm of the Year and Accounting Firm of the Year awards 2013, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and its affiliates provide audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services through approximately 6,000 people across the country. Focused on the creation of value and growth, and known as an employer of choice for innovative human resources programs, we are dedicated to helping our clients and our people excel. Formore information, please visit Deloitte’s web site at www.deloitte.com.au.

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