Yep. The IT Sector is all about Cheap Non-Aussie Labour

- March 15, 2013 2 MIN READ

Just to preface this post, Julia Gillard came out swinging yesterday against the IT industry and the Tech sector is not happy about it. Mike Cannon Brookes didn’t hold back at all taking to twitter and later additional media to vent his frustration. A hashtag from a Startup event #StartupAus is also being used to continue the conversation.


Then there is the comical commentary on this article which was written by the SMH today.

Now I am no expert on the world of IT and Tech startups, but I do speak to at least 30 of them a week, [especially startups] and one thing I can tell you is that majority of them are not actively seeking ways to do more paperwork, create more red tape for themselves around hiring and none are pro-actively choosing to hire a pool of foreign talent.

When you are trying to grow a business, especially a fast growth tech business, what you need is the BEST talent that is available to allow you to do that. To say that one of the reasons the industry is full of labour on 457’s has nothing to do with employers looking to hire cheaper people, it has everything to do with businesses needing to hire the right talent.

If businesses really wanted to hire workers that were cheaper, there is a massive pool of that type of talent in China, Thailand, India, Indonesia and the Philippines which would possess the same abilities and language skills as people on 457’s but would literally cost them a third of the price.

Oh, then there is the fact that FOREIGN STUDENTS is one of our biggest money makers in the country and quite a few of those would be studying degrees in the IT space, and sometimes after the degree they may want to stick around and continue working here. Which means they need a 457. A UNSW graduate, up skilled and trained in Australia, that is hungry, out to prove themselves and wants to join something exciting and cutting edge. Can you not see why they would stand out above the rest of the candidates?

Founder of iPhone app Roamz, Jonathan says the real issues are that we have a tech industry starved of capital and government support, and an education system that lacks the resources to nurture the minds of the next generation of technology, maths and science leaders.

Some of Jonathan’s initial insights include:

  •  To drive Australia’s IT sector, the government should look at Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv – innovative cities that thrive on cultural diversity. Additionally, the government  should consider more radical policy initiatives along the lines of Canada’s new start-up visa allowing immigrants who intend to start new businesses in the country to be given permanent residency and introductions to Canadian companies.
  • If the Gillard Government is really concerned about helping skill-up our nation, we would be changing the national school curriculum and increasing the number of computer science grads which has been declining year on year.
  • Of the 12,000 computer science graduates in Australia approximately 8000 are foreign students meaning we train up and lose a large proportion of the talent who come to Australia to study.

It may be an election year, but seriously – let’s not start bullshitting just to pull support from the Unions Julia.