The Deloitte Access Economics report – Australia’s Digital Pulse – forecasts employment growth in the ICT sector of 2.5 per cent per year over the next two decades compared with 1.6 per cent for the economy as a whole – this means demand for an estimated 100,000 ICT workers by 2020.
With university commencements and completions down on 2000 levels, Deloitte director John O’Mahony says that unless initiatives are put in place to encourage greater numbers into IT, a serious ICT skills shortage could develop.
The report notes that more than 10,000 temporary skilled visas have been granted to ICT workers over recent years including in the key technical areas of software development and programming. It recommends improved teacher training in digital technologies and endorsement of the national technologies curriculum.
Professionals Australia CEO Chris Walton welcomed the report and noted that the industry needs to address workforce skills development as a priority.
“Our understanding is that skills gaps are most evident in the areas of specialist skills and high-level experience. While enrolments and graduations from higher education have steadied, there has been a consistent decline in domestic student numbers for over a decade. The number of ICT professional positions filled by overseas workers on employer-sponsored migration visas increased over the last decade. While we accept that skilled migration will continue to play a role in meeting ICT skills needs to 2020, our fear is that government will go for the relatively easy option of migration rather than do this in parallel with initiatives to develop and retrain IT professionals in Australia. We need to invest in developing the skills profile we need for the future and to make a commitment to attracting and retaining as diverse an IT workforce as possible.”
Download the report here.