In order for Australia to take the lead in digital skills and employment, the nation requires the creation of an extra 200,000 jobs, a new report has revealed.
According to the 2018 edition of the Australian Computer Society (ACS) Digital Pulse report, the country needs a further 100,000 technology jobs on top of the 100,000 roles already forecast in the next five years.
In just the last three years, 63,000 new tech roles were created, with the Australian ICT workforce growing 3.5 per cent from 640,800 workers in 2016, to 663,100 workers in 2017.
“The demand for digital skills in our economy is exploding,” ACS president, Yohan Ramasundara, said. “The growth of artificial intelligence, automation and the internet of things is driving significant disruption across all industries, and highly trained ICT professionals are in more demand than ever before.
"If we want to be competitive in the world economy, we need to invigorate the education and training sectors to increase Australia’s ICT talent pool."
The report, which was prepared by Deloitte Access Economics, pointed out that Australia’s adoption of digital technologies has the potential to add a further $66 billion to Australia’s growth domestic product (GDP) in the next five years.
Of note to the channel, findings also showed ICT services exports increased more than 60 per cent in the past five years, reaching $3.2 billion mark in 2016-17 - further highlighting that exporting ICT services now outstripped imports by $290 million.
And during the same period, business ICT research and development has seen a 50 per cent increase to $6.6 billion.
But this is nowhere near enough, with Deloitte Access Economics partner, Kathryn Matthews, pointing out early warning signs that Australia could end up a passenger on the digital journey, with other nations in the driver’s seat, which could have flow‐on impacts on productivity and living standards.
“Australia ranks 12th out of the 16 countries on business expenditure on research and development in ICT when R&D is examined as a share of a country’s overall gross domestic product,” Matthews said.
"Couple this with falling behind in the supply of ICT skills in the current workforce and on STEM performance in schools, we cannot afford to be complacent."
In May, a Digital and Technology Collective Digital Skills and Salary report 2018, showed that digital and technology professionals were earning a median salary of $131,500, about 56 per cent more than the Australian median salary of $84,000.
The median pay for a c-suite salary was about $350,000. And to top this off, about three quarters of employees in the industry earn more than $100,000 per year, with most respondents recognising the need skill-up in order to shift to the next pay bracket, the report said.