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South Australia outpaced national IT growth during COVID

State’s tech workforce expected to lag rest of Australia over next five years, however.

14 June 2021 – For immediate release

South Australia’s tech workforce outpaced the rest of the nation during the COVID pandemic, the 2021 ACS Digital Pulse report found. However, the survey forecasts that the state will lag the rest of the nation over the next five years.

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 South Australia include:

  • SA’s IT sector workforce is forecast to grow 4.6% per annum over the next five years, below the national predicted increase of 5.4%.
  • Despite Covid, the state’s IT sector grew 5.8%, beating the national 4.3%.
  • 34,761 people currently work in the state’s tech sector, up by just over a thousand from 2019.

The report can be downloaded from the ACS website at 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, Ian Oppermann, said of the SA results: “South Australia’s technology workforce did well during the pandemic, however the state’s sector is forecast to lag the rest of the nation over the next five years.

“South Australia has some unique tech initiatives including the Australian Space Agency, the impressive Lot14 - which itself includes the space-propulsion developer Neumann Space -  and the Australian Institute of Machine Learning (AIML).  It will be important grow the state’s technology workforce to maximise the benefits offered by these initiatives.

“With advances in fields like machine learning and workplace automation, industry and government will see increased reliance on IT professionals in coming years, so we would like to see SA at the same levels as the rest of the country.”

The ICT sector growth will provide challenges to the national economy, however. 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:

  • Promote ICT education
  • Deepen digital skills across industries
  • Boost female participation in ICT
  • Re-energise digital transformation programs
  • Identify IT contractors’ capabilities



Further information

Troy Steer

Director of Corporate Affairs and Public Policy

M – 0417 173 740

E – [email protected]


About ACS

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 for more information.