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Tech talent supply insufficient to meet Australia’s growth ambitions

The 2019 edition of the ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse report will be launched this evening by Federal Treasurer, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg, MP. Key findings include:

  • Three policy priorities for driving the growth of Australia’s digital economy are boosting skills, start-ups and investment. The highest priority of these is skills development.
  • Digitally enabled growth requires investments in new technologies. Capital is globally mobile, and Australia must be an internationally competitive destination in order to attract the investment required to drive future growth and innovation.
  • Contribution of digital to GDP is expected to grow 40% between 2018-2023 – the equivalent of an extra $2,500 for every person in Australia every year.
  • The benefit from reskilling workers in other professional industries to meet employer demand for technology skills by 2024 could potentially be more than $11,000 per employee per year.
  • In the vocational education and training (VET) sector there was a decline of 11,875 IT subject enrolments between 2016 and 2017. University completions in technology degrees has risen slightly to just under 6,000.
  • An additional 100,000 tech workers are still needed by 2024.

5 September 2019: ACS, the professional association for Australia’s technology sector, will today launch its 2019 ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse report. The report highlights a shortage of talent in the technology sector, with an additional 100,000 workers still needed by 2024. It outlines a number of policy priorities that should be implemented in order to drive the growth of Australia’s digital economy and meet the demands of a successful workforce.

Prepared by Deloitte Access Economics, the report reveals there are tech talent supply inhibitors to meeting Australia’s growth ambitions and provides an economic evidence base of the policy levers that may best remove these barriers.

“Meeting the voracious demands for more technology workers and increased investments from Australia’s businesses will be a huge challenge,” said ACS President Yohan Ramasundara. “Australia’s future prosperity in an increasingly digitised world will depend upon ongoing investment in emerging technologies and further development in the digital skills required to build, deploy and apply them.”

“While university completions in technology degrees have risen slightly, there was a significant decline of 11,875 technology subject enrolments between 2016 and 2017 in the VET sector. For Australia to be a competitive player in the world economy, our policymakers, businesses, workers and communities need to work better together to address the challenges of technology-related skills, investment and collaboration,” Mr Ramasundara added.

The report also explores how digital technologies can further power Australia’s economic growth, with the contribution of digital to GDP expected to grow 40% between 2018 – 2023. That’s the equivalent of an extra $2,500 for every person in Australia each year.  

Deloitte Access Economics Partner John O’Mahony said that the economic benefits of digital technologies to productivity and GDP only provide one perspective on how these technologies have led to improved living standards across the Australian population.

“There are also a range of other types of gain, such as better access to and quality of healthcare and education services, as well as non-monetary benefits such as increased choice and lower travel times,” said O’Mahony.

ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse 2019 report investigates Australia’s digital economy and workforce. It provides a detailed examination of digital workforce trends, aimed at informing public debate about this important area of Australia’s economy.

The full report can be downloaded from the ACS website.