The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has completed their annual look at the state of technology jobs in Australia and the news is a mixed bag. While exports of ICT services are now worth $3.2b per year - an increase of over 60 percent over the last five years, we will need in import skills as there simply aren't enough graduates in the education pipeline to meet to anticipated demand. And we're also very much in the middle of the road when it comes to IT performance. But those challenges also create opportunities. Here's where you might find some great opportunities.
The ACS Australia's Digital Pulse report looked at four key themes that grouped 16 indicators to assess Australia's ICT competitiveness.
- Consumers: Internet access, mobile broadband access, consumer trust in technology
- ICT Sector: Research and development, e-commerce, business broadband connectivity, cloud uptake
- Businesses: ICT economic contribution, ICT exports, cyber capabilities and framework
- Workforce skills: ICT employment, ICT university graduates, Adult digital literacy, students' mathematical ability, students' science ability
Here's how we fared.
As we've seen from other research, our fixed broadband services have plenty of room for improvement but our wireless access is among the world's best. And we're fairly trusting of technology where, although we're in the middle of the rankings, the highest score, from Norway, isn't that much higher than ours.
Interestingly, our adult digital literacy is very high, lagging only behind Japan and our cyber capability is also pretty good.
On the jobs front, the report has plenty of data on what skills are possessed by ICT workers who moved jobs recently and we learn that women and the over 55s are under-represented in ICT jobs when compared to the rest of the workforce.
Despite the government's moves to curb the intake of overseas workers, the ACS points out that we have an overall skills deficit in ICT and that skilled migration brings skills into the country that are transferred to local workers, thus building up our workforce. There's a significant gap between the expected demand for skilled technology people and the number of graduates our education system is developing. Interestingly, when you look at the most common study areas undertaken by ICT workers last year, technical skills weren't near the top of the list.
- Business administration and management
- Information Technology
- Computer science
- Electrical and electronics engineering
- Project management
ICT workers coming to Australia are being employed in "Information technology and services" and "computer software" roles according to the data presented in the report.
What's all this tell us? If you're a skilled ICT practitioner, Australia remains a land of opportunity. There is a gap between the number of skilled people and the number of open jobs. We have plenty of opportunity to get better in several areas which, assuming we're not happy with being middle-of-the-road at almost everything, should mean entrepreneurial types can build new markets or change old ones.
Doe the ACS' data gel with what you're seeing? If you're working in the ICT sector, is the picture the ACS paints of opportunity the reality you're facing?