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ACS Week In Review: 12 July 2013

Friday, 12 Jul 2013

The ACS, as a vendor neutral trusted advisor to governments features heavily in the recommendations of the Australian Workplace Productivity Agency’s ICT Workforce Report, which highlighted the challenges Australia’s digital economy faces in terms of skills supply, skills quality, and data measurement. The ACS has welcomed the recommendations of the report, as you can read in our statement below.

We also reached out to our members this week with a short survey around the proposed cap on work related self-education expenses. This policy is set to be implemented from July 1, 2014 and will have a significant impact on people working across a number of industries – not just ICT. You can read some of the feedback and results below, which indicate ACS members feel they need more flexibility and support when it comes to the cost of continuing professional development.

ACS Members overwhelmingly oppose cap on work related self-education expenses

Members of the Australian Computer Society have overwhelmingly rejected the proposed cap on deductible work related self-education expenses in a recent national survey. The survey received input from 2400 professionals in just less than 4 days, making this a nationally significant sample of the membership of the ACS. The rapid response indicates the level of interest this issue has across the ICT profession.

Almost 90 per cent of respondents believe the cap on expenses at $2000 is inadequate and will disadvantage them in their careers, disadvantage their employers, disadvantage their businesses, and harm Australia’s digital economy while making business use of 457 visas more attractive. Many respondents pointed out that $2000 was barely enough to cover two days of training. In a profession as rapidly changing as ICT, professional development is critical to remaining ahead of key business technologies.

75 per cent of respondents said that their professional development and self-education costs exceeded $2000 a year, with more than half of this group noting self-education expenses each year were greater than $3000. Contractors also reported that self-education requires unpaid time off work so the proposed cap is in effect a double punishment for a critical section of the Australian digital economy workforce. 

The ACS will use the results of the survey to further promote the value of continuing professional development to the digital economy and encourage the government to support those in the workforce who are looking to increase their skill level and develop their careers.

More people need to study IT: Report

Australia's productivity agency has called for more young people to be funnelled into the technology sector to avert a major skills shortage, despite half of young graduates choosing not to work in the industry. 

Released Tuesday, the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency’s ICT Workforce Study suggests the IT workforce needs to expand from the bottom up, if Australia is to benefit from technological innovation.

AWPA Chief Robin Shreeve warned of impending skills shortages and the likelihood of more foreign workers being required to make up the shortfall if Australia’s talent pool did not increase.

A copy of the report is here:

Agency blueprint to solve ICT skills gap

AUSTRALIA could reverse skills shortages that have plagued the information and communications technology world for years with a 22-point landmark plan recommended by the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency.

About 461,000 people were employed in the 18 primary ICT occupations in August last year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Software and applications programmers was the largest occupation, 90,400 workers, followed by ICT support technicians (57,000), ICT managers (53,000), database and systems administrators and ICT security (36,000).

ACS to release Cloud discussion paper

As the trusted advisor to governments for the ICT workforce, the Federal Government has asked ACS to manage a consultation process with industry, research, education and community stakeholders to draft an Australian cloud protocol. Next week the ACS will release a discussion paper next week and facilitate high level consultation through July and August.

Telstra, Optus, VHA back renewal of mobile fee oversight

Australia's telco sector has unanimously backed a proposal to renew regulations governing mobile termination fees.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said in May it was considering whether to extend, vary or revoke the existing fee mobile termination access service (MTAS), or create a new one.

MTAS is the wholesale agreement that telcos offer each other to connect calls between different networks.

Revocation or major re-drafting appeared off the cards as telcos and industry bodies overwhelmingly came out in support of the existing regulation.

The ACCC had sought views on whether the market for mobile services was competitive enough for there to be a commercial incentive to carriers to keep inter-network fees low, but it found little support.