The AWPA ICT workforce study, released July 2013, is in my opinion one of the most important reports from this Government in terms of its implications for our industry and profession.
The report draws extensively upon input from the ACS, including citations for the ACS ICT Statistical Compendium, and the CIIER ICT Industry analysis published in the Compendium. As the lead researcher of that publication, this gives me great satisfaction, and also demonstrates the foresightedness of the ACS in supporting this research over the last four years.
Some of the AWPA key findings are no surprise to us, but important for others to see. They include that ICT is driving innovation and productivity, and that businesses across every industry sector are utilising ICT to streamline business processes, improve service offerings and simplify operations.
The report notes that the rollout of the National Broadband Network will facilitate and strengthen these activities, but that workers across the economy require a range of skills to support these developments, including, most importantly, "specialist ICT skills required to develop, deliver and promote ICT services, products and advice", and the generic skills and ‘digital literacy’ to facilitate and support these changes.
And finally, the report acknowledges the challenges in preparing the domestic workforce for the ICT skills demands of the future, including noting that the low engagement in ICT skills in schools leads to a less than satisfactory pipeline of ICT skills; and that many employers signal dissatisfaction with the quality and quantity of domestic ICT graduates.
It then defines some needed reform to boost perceptions of ICT careers, enhance the work readiness of ICT graduates, improve ICT statistical data, and improve industry engagement in up-skilling and professional development in an industry characterised by rapidly changing skill sets.
A number of these initiatives are also recommended to be undertaken directly with the ACS, or with the ACS and other stakeholders.
The report is well worth reading!
Chairman, ACS Victoria;
Editor, ACS Statistical Compendium;
Executive Director, CIIER.