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MEDIA RELEASE

Australia’s digital future – are we doing enough?

The ACS has launched its 2017 Digital Pulse report. 

Key findings include:

  • ICT is a key driver of Australia’s economic future. Currently a digital boom is occurring with 40,000 ICT jobs created in just the last two years, and ICT services exports up 12% to $2.8b.       
  • New economic modelling shows that adoption of digital technologies has lifted Australia’s GDP by 6.6% over the previous decade – with each Australian being $4,663 a year better off (in 2016 dollars).
  • However, 81,000 new ICT professionals are needed by 2022 to fuel future technology-led growth. Without skilled ICT labour our nation will stagnate.
  • Diversity is still an issue – women represent only 28% of the ICT workforce (compared to 44% across all professional industries) and older workers (55+) only represent 12% of Australia’s ICT workforce.
  • LinkedIn data reveals technical skills are in high demand – how will Australia meet this need to reap the advantages of a digital future?

Sydney, 24 May 2017: The ACS, the professional association for Australia’s ICT sector, today launched its 2017 “Australia’s Digital Pulse” Report – revealing that a ‘digital boom’ is underway with 40,000 technology jobs created over just the last two years (2015-16).

Prepared by Deloitte Access Economics, the report shows this strong growth in the ICT workforce is expected to continue, with an additional 81,000 jobs needed by 2022 to fuel future technology-led growth.  

Meeting this need will be a critical priority for Australia.

ACS President, Anthony Wong, said: “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.”

LinkedIn Director of Public Policy for Asia Pacific, Nick O’Donnell, said Australia’s skills shift is 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 twelfth position in 2015 to up to fourth in 2016.

“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,” Mr O’Donnell said.

Addressing Australia’s skilled ICT shortfall, ACS President Anthony Wong, said: “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 programs 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 are placing a high value on ICT skills against the backdrop of digital technologies being increasingly fundamental to a thriving economy. 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 further highlights a ‘to-do’ list for government that includes multiplying digital precincts, prioritising cyber, 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.

Australia’s Digital Pulse is a unique and comprehensive analysis of the ICT sector and the digital economy for Australia. The full report can be downloaded by clicking (here).

Australia’s Digital Pulse 2017 will be launched during CeBIT, on Wednesday 24 May at 5:00-7:00pm. Speakers will include the Hon Angus Taylor MP Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation (by video), John O’Mahony Partner Deloitte Access Economics, Nick O’Donnell Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs, LinkedIn Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia, Anthony Wong ACS President, and Michelle Price Chief Operations Officer Australian Cyber Security Growth Network.

-ENDS-

Media Contact

Thomas Shanahan, ACS. 02 8296 4492

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.