Australia’s top universities worried about IT workers shortage

The ICT industry projections to reach 1.2 million tech jobs by 2030 will mean Australia needs an extra 653,000 by the end of this decade.

Australia’s leading research-intensive universities are working toward boosting the number of high-value IT and Computer Science graduates.

The Group of Eight (Go8) is advocating for courses in ICT that are underpinned by research-led experience as part of a long-term strategy to address Australia’s workforce needs in this field.

Go8 CEO Vicki Thomson (go8.edu.au)

Go8 CEO Vicki Thomson said in a statement that the role of research is critical in underpinning the education of ICT students. She observed:

“Our focus, as the universities which educate 42 per cent of Engineering and 23 per cent of ICT students is very much on ensuring there is a strong, reliable long-term supply of graduates for roles that are increasingly high-value, high wage and will not be addressed solely by VET. The role of research is also critical in underpinning the education of our students.” 

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IT staff; Image Source: @CANVA

To achieve this goal, Go8 is organising ‘IT and Computing Workforce Summit’ that is bringing together industry, university, and government stakeholders.

Through this Summit the Go8 plans to identify the challenges which are a hindrance to the growth in this critical area of the workforce.

Thomson added that meeting the Australian Government and industry agreed objective of 1.2 million tech jobs by 2030 will require effort from all stakeholders. She said:

“The pandemic has delivered shocks to supply chains and other aspects of our economy. The nature of work and skills needed for Australia to remain economically competitive has changed and there is an unprecedented demand for a high skilled IT enabled workforce, requiring a university bachelor degree or higher.

We can all agree that there is a desperate shortage of IT professionals now, and that sustainable development of our economy and society requires exponential growth in future supply. This supply will need to be met from several sources.” 

IT staff; Image Source: @CANVA

According to the Tech Council of Australia, job vacancy rates are 60 per cent higher than the national average. The ICT industry projections to reach 1.2 million tech jobs by 2030 will mean Australia needs an extra 653,000 by the end of this decade. To meet this need, the number of university and VET graduates will need to increase by a further 42,000 by 2030.

Thomson is confident that the Go8 is “well placed to deliver the highly skilled technology-enabled workforce Australia needs for the future.”

The Hon Ed Husic MPMinister for Industry and Science (Image source: https://www.minister.industry.gov.au/ministers/husic)

Participants in Go8 Summit include representatives from IBM Australia, Telstra, Oracle Labs Australia, Google Research Australia, Raytheon Australia, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, and Accenture Consulting.

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The Summit will help provide recommendations to the Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic to inform discussion at next week’s National Jobs and Skills Summit.