A new report has predicted a lack of viable workers across the technology industry by 2024 if current trends continue, with 100,000 extra employees and 164,000 qualifications needed to meet demand, the Australian Computer Society (ACS) has found.
Conducted by Deloitte Access Economics, the report shows these extra employees are needed to meet future demand as technology companies have been growing at an average trend rate of 2.5 per cent per annum between 2011 and 2018, compared to the overall growth in the Australian labour market of 1.7 per cent over the same time frame.
ACS president Yohan Ramasundara said that meeting the demand of 100,000 extra employees will be a “huge challenge”.
“Australia’s future prosperity in an increasingly digitised world will depend upon ongoing investment in emerging technologies and further development in the digital skills required to build, deploy and apply them,” he said.
“While university completions in technology degrees have risen slightly, there was a significant decline of 11,875 technology subject enrolments between 2016 and 2017 in the VET sector.
“For Australia to be a competitive player in the world economy, our policymakers, businesses, workers and communities need to work better together to address the challenges of technology-related skills, investment and collaboration.”
The report also predicted the demand for higher skilled employees will increase by 2024, with an additional estimated 164,000 qualifications needed to meet new job standards, with 121,000 of those requiring higher level undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
Brennan IT CEO Stephen Sims expressed concern with the widening of this skill gap, as it poses a threat to local businesses that are looking to integrate digital technologies into their existing offering.
However, he added that businesses can anticipate this rise in demand but should do so sooner rather than later.
“Upskilling staff and accessing fresh STEM talent is a longer-term solution, however it’s crucial to make the best decision for your organisation to weather the storm of industry change now, because time isn’t necessarily on our side – organisations need answers today or risk slipping behind both Australian and global competitors,” Sims said.
“Partnering with experienced professionals and IT service providers has its benefits. They’ve become talent pools and enable Australian organisations to access the latest technologies and utilise their varying experiences in the tech space.
“Leaving the ‘skills’ issue to specialist professionals could be the best solution to freeing-up valuable time and resources internally, and driving results now.”