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MEDIA RELEASE

Australia's Digital Challenge: ICT is Pivotal & Skills Mix Must Change

MEDIA RELEASE - AUSTRALIA’S DIGITAL CHALLENGE: ICT IS PIVOTAL & SKILLS MIX MUST CHANGE

 

Australia, 16 March 2016: The ACS – the professional association for Australia’s ICT sector - today launched its 2016 “Australia’s Digital Pulse” report.  The Report, prepared by Deloitte Access Economics, shows that whilst the digital economy will grow from 5% to 7% of GDP by 2020, new LinkedIn data highlights that a major skills shift is underway in our economy.  For ICT specialists, 6 out of the top 10 skills now sought after are non-technical skills such as project management, sales and customer service skills, and for 2.5million Australians in non ICT roles digital literacy skills are an increasingly important part in their job. 

A key finding in the Report is that with tertiary graduates currently representing only 1% of the ICT workforce of 628,000, satisfying the skills mix now being demanded by employers requires a far stronger focus on retraining and reskilling the existing workforce.  This must include a focus on encouraging more women and mature age workers to pursue ICT careers.

Commenting on the findings, ACS President, Anthony Wong, said: “LinkedIn’s data highlights that a significant and rapid skills transformation is happening in our economy.  Responding to this challenge will require governments, employers and the education and training sector to work collaboratively and, importantly, to reassess current approaches to both training and recruitment.   The ACS has an important role to play in this skills transformation task. A clear message from the Report is that our economy now needs ICT specialists with creativity, entrepreneurship and strategic business skills whilst non ICT workers increasingly require a base level of digital competency.”

Deloitte Access Economics partner, John O’Mahony, said: “The contribution of digital technologies to Australia’s economy is forecast to grow by 75% to 2020 and, needless to say, there is going to be strong demand for a workforce equipped to support this growth, and the opportunities that will come with it.

“The biggest driver of digital growth will be the greater use of digital technologies such as cloud computing, data analytics, and other such developments in all aspects of business by people traditionally considered non-ICT workers. But our analysis also shows that there is significant demand for technical roles, including in areas that only emerged in recent years, such as cloud computing specialists and cyber security.”

Managing Director for LinkedIn in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia, Clifford Rosenberg, said: “We are already seeing widespread digital disruption across key Australian industries which is leading to skill shifts. It is imperative that businesses train their employees with both tech skills and soft skills required for the digital economy.

“Analysis of 25 hottest skills in Australia shows that 17 of the most sought-after are technology related as more mainstream businesses integrate technology into their core business. Our data also shows that eight of the top 20 skills demanded by employers hiring new technology workers are broader than core technical skills such as relationship management, customer service, strategic planning and contract negotiation.

Mr Wong continued: “The Report highlights how information technology is becoming embedded in all our products and services. It forecasts strong growth in the digital economy to $139 billion by 2020, an increase of 75% since 2014. ICT employment is also expected to grow at 2% annually to 695,000 by 2020. However, whilst this strong growth is welcome, the Report provides a timely reminder that as we seek to transition the Australian economy to one based more on services and knowledge and less on mining investment, we will only be able to achieve that if we urgently address the skills mix in our workforce. ICT skills and digital literacy have never been more important to our economic success.  And an important dimension of this challenge, and one which is a high priority for the ACS, is to encourage more women and mature age workers in to the ICT workforce.”

The Report notes that only 28% of the ICT workforce are women, compared to 43% across all professions, and only 11% are mature aged workers compared to 15% across the total workforce.

Australia’s Digital Pulse is a comprehensive analysis of the ICT sector and the digital economy, and is available by clicking here

Australis’s Digital Pulse 2016 will be launched at the National Press Club, on Wednesday 16 March at 5.30pm by Mr Trent Zimmerman MP, Federal Member for North Sydney. Other speakers will include John O’Mahony from Deloitte Access Economic, The Hon Susan Ryan AO, Age & Disability Discrimination Commissioner, and Nick O’Donnell from LinkedIn.

-ENDS-

Further information

Louise Proctor, Launch Group, 0452 574 244 louise@launchgroup.com.au

Thomas Shanahan, ACS, 0449 902 130 

 

About the ACS

The 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 ACS 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.