Australia’s Digital Economy Demands International Skills

Australia’s growing digital economy presents a massive opportunity for skilled workers from around the world who are keen to work here.

It’s expected to grow significantly over the coming years, fuelled by emerging disruptive technologies and their potential commercial applications across professions and industries: 3D printing in manufacturing, drones in the construction industry and driverless vehicles on mining sites to name a few.

According to one report undertaken in 2016 by Deloitte, the contribution of digital technologies to the Australian economy is forecast to increase by 75% from $79 billion in 2014 to $139 billion in 2020. This will represent a significant 7% of Australia’s GDP. Of course, the use of Information Communications Technology (ICT) isn’t restricted to technology companies – ICT has made its way into all aspects of the business community. That means there are a huge number of ICT skills in demand right across sectors.

It also means demand for skilled ICT workers will continue to grow across a mix of technical and business-related roles. Australia needs software engineers and developers as well as business development managers and business analysts able to implement ICT systems and processes with the broader business. We also need ICT workers with more general skills, such as relationship management, customer service, strategic planning and contract negotiation.

Filling the Demand

In 2015, there were around 628,000 ICT workers in Australia, up from an estimated 605,000 in 2014. Growth in employment is expected to continue by 2.0% per annum (compared to 1.4% for the workforce as a whole). Indeed, by 2020, Australia is expected to employ 695,000 ICT workers.

Although they make up a tiny proportion (2%) of this total ICT workforce, ICT workers make up the majority (15%) of skilled international employees working in Australia on 457 visas. With growing demand, it makes sense that they will continue to do so.

The skilled occupations listed by the Australian Government for 2016 included:

ICT business Analyst, Systems Analyst, Analyst Programmer, Developer Programmer, Software Engineer, Computer Network and Systems Engineer, Telecommunications Engineer and Telecommunications Network Engineer.