ACS President Anthony Wong
The ICT services space is currently a lucrative market to be in, with the Australian Computer Society (ACS) saying that trade in ICT continues to grow, with local exports in that space increasing by 12 per cent year-on-year to $2.8 billion in 2015-16.
In the 2017 Digital Pulse report, created by Deloitte Access Economics, ACS highlighted that the ICT input share of Australia's goods exports increased from four per cent in 2013 to seven per cent in 2016, reflecting a greater uptake of new technologies across key industries of economic importance, such as agriculture and manufacturing.
In addition, it found that adoption of digital technologies has lifted Australia's GDP by 6.6 per cent over the previous decade and that the economic contribution of the digital-enabled economy in Australia is forecast to increase to $139 billion by 2020, representing 7.3 per cent of Australia's GDP.
It also stated that nearly 90 per cent of this contribution is expected to come from the use of internet and digital technologies outside of the information, media and telecommunications industry.
According to the report, this has created a 'digital boom', with 40,000 technology jobs created over 2015 and 2016, extending the ICT proportion within the total workforce to 5.4 per cent.
However, according to ACS president, Anthony Wong, the strong growth in the ICT workforce is expected to continue, creating a need for an additional 81,000 jobs by 2022 to fuel future technology-led growth.
"Technology skills are fast becoming the engine room of the Australian economy. To fast-track our nation's digital transformation, and ensure the ICT skills base is there to meet demand, we need a clear strategy and dedicated investment focus in this area," he said.
He mentioned that meeting this need should be a critical priority for Australia as without skilled ICT labour, the nation will stagnate.
Addressing Australia's skilled ICT shortfall, Wong, said the ACS is actively championing the uptake of coding in schools, better support for teachers in the delivery of emerging technology areas, the establishment of multidisciplinary degrees, and relevant training programs to help to build a pipeline of workers with valuable ICT skills.
"In a skills shortage environment, skilled migration is an important lever for developing competitive advantage for the nation. However it needs to be targeted, and needs to address the genuine skills gaps in the domestic market, while ensuring migrant workers are not exploited."
The findings of ACS are supported by LinkedIn data, which revealed that technical skills are in high demand, especially for NET developers, software engineers, solution architects, Java developers, and front end developers.
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