The union representing Telstra workers has called Andy Penn's comments over the skill level of telecommunications workers in Australia a "complete disrespect" to the 8,000 employees the company is letting go.
As reported by ARN, Penn said Telstra currently need specific capabilities "but the fact is we cannot find in Australia enough of the skills, like software engineers, that we need on the scale that we need them".
CEPU Communications Union said Penn should look "to the 8,000 people he's just forced out of a job if he's struggling to find people to work at the telco".
The union national president Shane Murphy said there are plenty of candidates within those 8,000 workers that could be re-trained or up-skilled to fill those gaps.
"Of course industries change over time, but a smart CEO looks to the future and up-skills the workforce in order to meet those changes," Murphy said. "It seems Andy Penn doesn't have the foresight required to run our once iconic telco.
"This is another example of the Telstra CEO's disrespect for the workforce. He's putting 8000 people out of a job, and at the same time complaining that he can't find any workers. This man is the definition of a man out of touch with reality.
"Andy Penn has just axed the jobs of thousands of skilled workers, yet here is complaining that there aren't enough skilled Australian workers."
The Innovation and Capability Centre (ICC) announced by Telstra is set to consolidate the telco's presence in India. Penn said the Telstra already works with many partners and sourced talent from third parties.
The telco has indicated it initially plans to recruit some 300 network and software engineers through the ICC, which will be based in Bangalore.
In a blog post today, Alex Badenoch, Telstra's group executive for transformation and people, said the company has recently trained some of its existing store team members as small business specialists so that Telstra has more people dedicated to supporting this customer segment.
The telco has also been involved with several training programs but the only one that could address the telco's needs -- the graduate program -- would only see results in 2020.
On 23 January, the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) said it was notified Telstra is about to let 752 workers go around the country, at the same time it would create 347 new roles.
That represented the second mass sacking since the giant telco unveiled its ‘Telstra2022' strategy, which was set to eliminate 9,500 roles and create 1,500 new positions.