Australia Needs More Workforces To Meet Demands Of Its ICT Industry

Australia is currently facing shortage of skilled workforce in its ICT sector. While the demand for ICT workers has doubled from 1999 to 2012, the applications for tertiary ICT courses within the same period have slipped to about 60 percent, as per reports.

According to the 2015 Crossroads report that was released on April 21, demand for ICT skills is not only confined to the ICT industry as many other industries are also getting digitized or computerized and Australia can capitalize on the digital economy only if it has the required workforce to create products that can compete at the global level.

Numbers revealing the Workforce deficit

As estimated by the Australian Computer Society, for the next three years, 35,000 more ICT professionals will be required in the country. This is three times the projected number of domestic ICT graduates from Australian Universities in the next three years. According to data collected by Department of Industry, between 2003 and 2010, there has been a 52 percent decline in domestic ICT graduates with computer science majors currently representing just 2 percent of domestic graduates each year.

Universities in Australia are also adding up to the problem with most of them downsizing ICT courses and reducing teaching staff members, figures out the 2015 Crossroads report.

One of the reasons contributing to the decline is more than 70 percent of ICT students drop out from their courses. As per Department of Industry, of 16,000 students enrolled under an IT degree in 2009, only 27 percent of them graduated in 2012.

The shortage of skilled ICT workforce has been a serious point of concern for the ICT industry in Australia. Industry experts and analysts have been pointing out the problems that the country’s ICT industry might face due to lack of skilled workforce. Last year, in July, IT recruitment firm, Greythorn had presented a report which emphasized that the IT sector in Australia will face huge shortage in the next five years, as reported by ZDNet.

Initiatives undertaken by various companies to address the issue

The 2015 Crossroads report outlines that the Government has not been taking measures required to address the shortage of skilled workforce in the ICT industry. Cisco Australia has announced a STEM skills development program called AUSTEM 2020, under which Cisco will invest upto $31 million over five years. Under this program, Cisco imparts training to 100,000 high school and university students in the field of cloud, cyber security and internet of things (IoT).

Google Australia has partnered with University of Adelaide to develop a free open online course that would support the implementation of the new national Digital Technologies Curriculum, according to the newly released Crossroads report. The report has also enlisted some other organizations who have been taking necessary initiatives to increase the ICT talent pool in Australia. The organizations working on these lines include Refraction Media, Digital Careers,, National Computer Science School, CoderDojo, FIRST Australia.