Australians lack awareness about what tech jobs exist, or how to get into them, and the training pathways to those jobs are not always fit for purpose, according to a new roadmap to solving the sector’s hungry for more workers.
The report prepared by the Tech Council of Australia (TCA) and Accenture, and titled Delivering 1.2 million jobs – A roadmap to create a thriving Australian tech workforce explains what it will take to meet the new Labor government’s election pledge of having 1.2 million tech workers in Australia by 2030.
Australia currently has around 860,000 people employed in the sector and Labor aligned its promise with the TCA’s ambition to create more than 300,000 tech jobs over the next 8 years.
The report, released today by Afterpay cofounder and TCA director Anthony Eisen and Industry and Science minister Ed Husic, comes 12 months after TCA formed as a lobby group to champion growth and investment in Australia’s tech sector.
The TCA collaborated with the Digital Skills Organisation (DSO) on the report. Last year, TCA and DSO announced a partnership to address Australia’s tech talent shortage, creating the Digital Employers Forum, which includes major tech employers and educators.
TCA CEO Kate Pounder said the new tech jobs are critical to Australia’s future.
“They are amongst the fastest-growing, best-paid, most secure, and most flexible jobs in Australia. They have half the gender pay gap of other high-paying industries,” she said.
“These jobs are critical to every major industry in the Australian economy – as demonstrated by the broad range of employers and educators participating in the Digital Employment Forum, from sectors as diverse as retail, banking, mining, government, professional services, software and telecommunications, all with a shared vision to create pathways into jobs.”
Pounder said getting more Australians into tech jobs is a key way to meet the goals of the upcoming Jobs Summit.
“This includes lifting productivity and wages without creating inflationary pressures, increasing job security, addressing the gender pay gap and improving employment outcomes for disadvantaged Australians,” she said.
The report says national action is needed to ensure access to those tech jobs, pointing out significant shortages, especially in technical and experienced tech roles.
Vacancy rates in tech 60% higher than the national average and are forecast to grow at triple the rate.
The most severe shortages are in technical occupations such as software programmers and computer network professionals, alongside big gaps in commercial and creative roles such as product managers.
The report identified 5 key issues that need to be addressed to achieve the employment target. They are:
- A lack awareness about what tech jobs exist, or how to get into them.
- Current training products and pathways into tech jobs are not always fit for purpose.
- Strong demographic skews with women, older and regional Australians under-represented in tech jobs.
- A small talent pool with the skills and experience needed to work in experienced technical roles
- A lack of a coordinated effort, analysis and planning for the tech workforce.
Industry and Science minister Ed Husic the government is now taking its first step to meeting its tech jobs target, introducing legislation to create an interim Jobs and Skills Australia, a body dedicated to understanding and addressing the nation’s skills crisis.
“One of my early priorities as Minister will be to organise a roundtable to meet with key stakeholders in the tech sector to work towards shared goals,” he said.
“The Government is already taking action which is in line with the recommendations of the report.
“We will create an environment for success by building our national training system, backing final year student and graduate entrepreneurs, and buying and making things in Australia.”
“Our Future Made in Australia plan will spark demand for Australian-made products. We’ll create good jobs and give Australians the skills to secure them,” Minister Husic said.
“We are also committed to improving migration settings to support high productivity and wages in all sectors, including the tech sector.”
Kate Pounder said government and industry need to work together to break down barriers.
“We believe Australia has a once in a generation opportunity to be a global technology powerhouse, leading in critical fields like Quantum and Fintech as well as increasing our lead in B2B software as a service,” she said.
“The great news is the report has outlined a range of activities the sector can do, things Government can do and the role industry and Government can play together to break down the barriers and deliver on this incredible jobs opportunity.”
DSO CEO Patrick Kidd said: “It is our mission as an industry to make digital skills and technology careers more accessible to more people and quickly — regardless of backgrounds, training or experience.”