Tasmania led Australia’s ICT workforce growth last year with a nearly 17% jump in the number IT workers, says the 2021 ACS Digital Pulse report.
This year’s report found, despite the disruptions of the COVID pandemic, Tasmania saw the number of tech workers in the state grow by 1,364 to 9,400.
Prepared by Deloitte Access Economics for ACS, Digital Pulse tracks the key trends in Australia’s technology workforce and the sector’s potential over the next five years. Key findings in this year’s report for Tasmania include:
• 2020 saw Tasmania’s ICT workforce grow 16.97% from 8,036 workers in 2019.
• The state’s IT sector workforce growth is forecast to fall back to 4.7% per annum over the next five years, slightly below the national average of 5.4%.
• The five-year growth is lower than Victoria’s (5.8%) and Queensland’s (5.9%), although higher than NSW’s (4.8%).
The report can be downloaded from the ACS website at www.acs.org.au. National findings of the report included.
• Over the next five years, the technology workforce is forecast to exceed 1.1m Australians, growing more than four times faster than the broader labour force numbers.
• Young Australians are recognising the value of digital skills with IT being the fastest growing field of education for domestic enrolments with over 41,000 in 2019.
• Nevertheless, current trends indicate an impending gap between the need for extra 60,000 technology workers each year and just 7,000 domestic IT degree graduates. Boosting reskilling and restarting skilled migration will be essential to meet Australia’s ICT needs.
• The Australian ICT sector’s gender imbalance threatens to hold the economy back, as achieving parity in the industry would boost employment by 5,000 new workers a year in the first 20 years.
• The top software programming skills demanded by employers include SQL (requested in 14% of job postings), Java (10%) and DevOps (9%).
ACS President, Dr. Ian Oppermann, said of the state’s results: “Tasmania’s remarkable surge in ICT jobs over 2020 shows how the state benefited from more decentralised ways of working. There’s now an opportunity to build on the recognition the state is an attractive place for technology workers and businesses.
“Along with attracting interstate and offshore workers and enterprises, the state also has look to grow its local sector which is why ACS welcomes the Tasmanian government’s Digital Future plan along with initiatives like the recently expanded Digital Ready for Business program.
“The national Digital Pulse report identified many ways we can boost the ICT sector including promoting the ICT industry to women and working towards a more inclusive and welcoming profession and industry. We need to find new ways to help students bridge the gap between academic studies and the expectations and needs of business as they enter the sector.”
Nationally, the ICT sector growth will provide challenges for the economy, Digital Pulse warns. The report identifies a looming gap between the 60,000 new technology workers needed per year and the current numbers of domestic IT degree completions.
The future of the Australian technology workforce will greatly rely on reskilling from other industries. Meanwhile, the lack of female participation could cost the economy $11bn over the next two decades unless we accelerate towards gender parity across the technology workforce.”
This year’s Digital Pulse identifies five areas where Australia could address its ICT weaknesses:
o Promote ICT education
o Deepen digital skills across industries
o Boost female participation in ICT
o Re-energise digital transformation programs
o Identify IT contractors’ capabilities
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ACS is the professional association for Australia's technology sector. More than 48,000 ACS members work in business, education, government and the community. ACS exists to create the environment and provide the opportunities for members and partners to succeed. ACS strives technology professionals to be recognised as drivers of innovation in our society, relevant across all sectors, and to promote the formulation of effective policies on technology and related matters. Visit www.acs.org.au for more information.