ICT job numbers to climb while skills shortage deepens: ACS

Declining university ICT enrolments and the drop in skilled ITC migration means new positions will be hard to fill, says Australian Computer Society

Australian Computer Society chief executive, Alan Patterson.

Australian Computer Society chief executive, Alan Patterson.

A booming digital economy may lead to the creation of 35,000 new ICT jobs by 2013, but Australia will not have enough candidates to fill these positions, according to the Australian Computer Society’s (ACS) 2011 Statistical Compendium.

The Compendium found that while the digital economy was worth $100 billion last year and 14,000 new jobs would be created in 2012 with another 21,000 expected in 2013, university ICT enrolments were down in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania. According to the report, national enrolments are now less than half the enrolment numbers of a decade ago.

ICT skills brought by migration were also down. The report found that temporary ICT migrants arriving in Australia declined 25 per cent in 2011 to 8,530.

ACS chief executive, Alan Patterson, said that the Compendium confirmed Australia’s urgent need for coordinated policy focus on ICT given its value and the demands in the broader economy for skills. “Although ICT demand is increasing even in uncertain economic conditions, the number of domestic students choosing ICT as a career is insufficient to meet demand,” he said in a statement.

Patterson added that ICT enrolments are continuing to decline as a percentage of all higher education enrolments and the drop in skilled ICT migration suggests Australian employment requirements cannot be met easily.

“Promoting ICT as a rewarding career needs to be a top priority to ensure our developing digital economy is funded, sustained and competitive” Patterson said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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