7 June 2021 – For immediate release
West Australia is to be a one of the leading states in IT jobs growth over the next five years, forecasts the 2021 ACS Digital Pulse report.
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 West Australian findings in this year’s report include:
- WA’s IT sector workforce is forecast to grow 5.6% per annum over the next five years, above the national predicted increase of 5.4%.
- Increased tech employment will help the state’s economy diversify over the first part of this decade.
- Covid hit the state’s tech workers last year with a 1.4% fall in the sector’s employment in 2020.
- 52,084 people currently work in the state’s tech sector.
- Mining and agriculture were among two of the sectors that reduced IT employment last year.
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, Ian Oppermann, said of WA’s results: “West Australia’s technology workforce took a hit in 2020 along with many other sectors, but the state’s IT sector is expected outpace the nation over the next five years.
“While the mining and agriculture industries will remain the foundations for the West Australian economy over coming years, it is encouraging to see increased technology employment forecast as the state looks to diversify its employment and industries.
“Advances in fields such as workplace automation, artificial intelligence, and smart places will see increased reliance on IT professionals even in those ‘traditional industries’ in coming years, so we expect this year’s decline will be a temporary setback in a longer-term trend.”
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
Director of Corporate Affairs and Public Policy
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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.