Australians don’t know what tech jobs there are, or how to get into them, and the training pathways to those jobs aren’t always fit for purpose, according to a new roadmap to solve the industry’s hunger for more workers.
The report prepared by the Tech Council of Australia (TCA) and Accenture, and titled Creating 1.2 million jobs – A roadmap to create a thriving Australian engineering workforce explains what it will take to fulfill the new Labor government’s election promise to have 1.2 million tech workers in Australia by 2030.
Australia currently employs around 860,000 people in the sector and Labor has aligned its pledge with the TCA’s ambition to create more than 300,000 tech jobs over the next 8 years.
The report, released today by Anthony Eisen, co-founder and TCA director of Afterpay, and Ed Husic, Minister for Industry and Science, comes 12 months after TCA was formed as a lobby group to promote growth and investment in Australia’s technology sector.
The TCA collaborated on the report with the Digital Skills Organization (DSO). Last year, TCA and DSO announced a partnership to address the shortage of tech talent in Australia by establishing the Digital Employers Forum, which includes major tech employers and educators.
TCA CEO Kate Pounder said the new tech jobs are crucial to Australia’s future.
“They are among the fastest growing, highest paying, safest and most flexible jobs in Australia. They have half the gender pay gap in other high-paying sectors,” she said.
“These jobs are critical to every major industry in the Australian economy – as evidenced by the wide range of employers and educators participating in the Digital Employment Forum, from industries as diverse as retail, banking, mining, government, professional services, software and telecommunications, all with a shared vision of creating jobs to jobs.”
Pounder said getting more Australians into tech jobs is an important way to achieve the goals of the upcoming Jobs Summit.
“This includes increasing productivity and wages without creating inflationary pressures, increasing job security, addressing the gender pay gap and improving employment outcomes for disadvantaged Australians,” she said.
The report says national action is needed to ensure access to those tech jobs, and points to significant shortages, especially in tech and experienced tech positions.
Vacancy rates in technology are 60% higher than the national average and are expected to grow three times faster.
The greatest shortages occur in technical professions such as software programmers and computer network professionals, in addition to large gaps in commercial and creative positions such as product managers.
The report identified five key issues that need to be addressed to achieve the employment target. They are:
- A lack of awareness about what tech jobs there are, or how to get into them.
- Current training products and pathways to technical jobs are not always fit for purpose.
- Strong demographic skews with women, older and regional Australians underrepresented in tech jobs.
- A small talent pool with the skills and experience needed to work in experienced technical roles
- A lack of coordinated effort, analysis and planning for the tech workforce.
The Government, Minister of Industry and Science, Ed Husic, is now taking the first step to meet its tech jobs target, by introducing legislation to create an interim Jobs and Skills Australia body dedicated to understanding and addressing the country’s skills crisis.
“One of my first priorities as a minister will be to organize a roundtable to meet key stakeholders in the technology sector to work towards shared goals,” he said.
“The government is already taking measures in line with the report’s recommendations.
“We will create an environment for success by building our national education system, supporting senior students and graduate entrepreneurs, and buying and making things in Australia.”
“Our Future Made in Australia plan will boost demand for Australian-made products. We will create good jobs and give Australians the skills to keep them safe,” said Minister Husic.
“We are also committed to improving migration settings to support high productivity and wages in all sectors, including the tech sector.”
Kate Pounder said government and industry must work together to break down barriers.
“We believe Australia has a unique opportunity to be a global technology powerhouse, leading in critical areas such as Quantum and Fintech and extending our lead in B2B software as a service,” she said.
“The good news is that the report outlined a range of activities the industry can do, things government can do and the role industry and government can play together to break down the barriers and deliver on this incredible job opportunity. “
DSO CEO Patrick Kidd said: “Our mission as an industry is to make digital skills and technology careers faster and more accessible to more people – regardless of background, education or experience.”