Tech Council praises Budget’s ‘significant investment’ in digital skills

- March 30, 2022 2 MIN READ
Tech Council of Australia CEO Kate Pounder
Peak industry lobby group The Tech Council of Australia (TCA) has praised the federal budget for its focus on small business digital adoption, skills.

CEO Kate Pounder said the plan feeds into the TCA’s goal of getting more people into the tech sector.

“We applaud the measures announced in the federal budget that support the growing job opportunity in the tech sector. These measures will assist our goal of having 1.2 million people in tech jobs by 2030,” she said.

“Achieving this goal will help more Australian workers get high-paid, secure and flexible jobs. We want to be an industry that creates great jobs for Australians and partners with governments to make sure Australians have the skills and support to get into them.”

Pounder said it was a “significant investment in small business digital adoption” through the Technology Investment Boost and the Skills and Training Boost.

“These measures will help small businesses to grow and increase their productivity, and to invest in improving tech skills in areas such as cyber security,” she said. 

“Businesses that invested in technology during the pandemic were more likely to stay open, recover more quickly and create more jobs. This tax incentive will help small businesses grow even further and keep creating jobs as we come out of the pandemic.”

“This measure will level the playing field for small businesses looking to invest in technology and boost their productivity.”

The TCA boss said the government’s plan to simplify the Employee Share Schemes (ESS) regulatory framework was also welcomed.

“This will let Australian companies offer equity to more employees, particularly junior staff members. It’s important for up and coming Australian companies to help them attract, retain and reward workers during a time of skills shortages,” she said.

“This reform will create jobs. Workers that receive shares in companies that scale can found their own companies with the proceeds, which then creates more Australian companies and jobs.”

Pounder said the changes to the ESS framework will put Australian companies on an equal footing with global competitors, who already use ESS to attract top talent.

“This is more critical than ever as we encourage talent to transfer and retrain into the tech industry,” she said. 

Pounder said measures  aimed at re-skilling women into the technology sector were also welcome. There’s $3.9 million allocated over two years to support women to pursue career opportunities tech.

“Our research shows that women are most likely to enter tech jobs between the age of 25–30. This initiative represents an important initial contribution to help more women make that transition, given only 1 in 4 tech workers are women,” she said.

“Getting more women into tech jobs is a great deal for women as tech jobs are amongst the best-paid, most secure and most flexible in the country. The gender pay gap is also half that of other high-paying jobs.”

“What we have in our industry is a trifecta of secure, well-paid, flexible jobs available to all people regardless of background or education. We want Australians to aspire to a job in our industry, and we want to help them find the pathway into their career.”

The TCA said it also recognises other measures for cyber-security and research commercialisation and will look into the details.