ACS has the 2022 edition of Digital pulse from ACS Australiathe leading annual report on the state of the IT workforce and the digital economy in Australia.
This year’s report focuses heavily on the issue of diversity in the IT industry and the critical demands on IT skills that drive wages in the industry.
According to the report, Australia will need more than 1.2 million IT professionals to meet demand by 2027, up from the current 870,000, representing an annual growth rate of 5.5%
In the past year alone, IT workforce has grown by 8%, one of the fastest growth rates ever, and well above the 3.4% growth rate of the Australian workforce as a whole.
To meet those demands, Australia will have to do more than just import workers, said ACP president Dr. Nick Tate.
“This year’s Digital Pulse report is the eighth we’ve released, and each has had a consistent message that we need to improve the country’s digital skills pipeline,” noted Dr. Tate on.
“As the federal government’s Jobs and Skills Summit approaches, Digital Pulse strongly advocates promoting technology training at the school, vocational and tertiary levels.”
Australia’s Digital Pulse details some of the key drivers of change for the domestic pipeline, including providing better tools and resources for teaching digital technologies in schools; encouraging industry to look at retraining rather than ‘fire and replace’ hiring practices; and greater adoption of non-traditional paths to IT professionalism.
The report also reveals that the shortage of IT talent has driven up the wages of IT professionals, and IT professionals currently earn an average of $11,000 more than professionals in other similar professions.
Focus on diversity
This year’s Digital Pulse has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, which new ACP CEO Chris Vein describes as both a moral imperative and a practical way to solve workforce shortages.
“If we can build workplaces that support a diverse workforce and flexible working conditions, we’re much better able to retain current employees and attract new ones,” said Vein.
The report provides a detailed breakdown of the diversity in the IT sector, noting that while female representation has improved from 29% to 31% over the past year, it still lags significantly behind the workforce as a whole, where 48% of the employees are women.
The IT industry outperforms on sexual orientation, neurodiversity, and support for people with disabilities, with most of these metrics being equal or slightly better than the average.
However, discrimination is still a major problem in the industry, according to Digital Pulse, with 58% of IT professionals surveyed saying they have experienced discrimination at some point in their careers.
Analysis by report partners Deloitte Access Economics found that those who experienced discrimination are twice as likely to leave their current workplace within the next two years compared to those who have not experienced discrimination.
It also shows that increasing IT workforce diversity could create an average of 14,000 new IT jobs per year over the next 20 years.
The report notes that, thanks to a large number of foreign workers recruited to fill the skills gap, a large proportion of Australia’s IT workforce is foreign-born – currently 45%.
In his foreword, Dr. Tate noted that this is a “risky” long-term strategy and that “so much can and should be done domestically to improve the pipeline of technology workers.”
The full report can downloaded here.