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IT skills gap continues to widen

Technology is a crucial part of how many modern companies do business, with the cloud, social, big data and the Internet of Things creating both new challenges and opportunities.

For organisations to enjoy the maximum benefits of today’s IT developments, they’ll need talented employees who have the necessary qualifications to instigate change.

Unfortunately, both recent and historic research shows that Australia has been too slow to build an effective pipeline of skilled workers who can make the most of technology growth.

IT traineeships could provide companies with the answer to their skills gaps, with Apprenticeship Central offering a range of resources to help businesses and applicants find each other. Sign up to take advantage of the search function and identify the ideal trainee for your organisation.

In June, Deloitte Access Economics and the Australian Computer Society revealed digital technology as one of the country’s fastest-growing industries. The sector’s contribution to national GDP jumped to 5.1 per cent in 2013-14, up to $79 billion from $50 billion in just three years.

However, Deloitte Access Economics Director John Mahony said there could be a “serious problem” for businesses if they fail to account for declining ICT graduation rates and a pre-existing gap in skilled workers.

“The contribution from ICT to Australia’s economy, and our successfully meeting our productivity challenges, are at risk if we don’t ensure there is an adequate workforce equipped with the necessary ICT skills,” he explained. “We urgently need to boost both awareness and opportunity around ICT skills development.”

The latest figures from SEEK show the industry experienced the third highest growth in the number of job advertisements posted between the 2014 and 2015 financial years. There was a 13 per cent annual increase in adverts, with only trades and services (18 per cent) and healthcare and medical (15 per cent) positions exhibiting more demand.

Managing Director of Employment at SEEK Michael Ilczynski said great opportunities exist for qualified candidates with sought-after skills.

“In IT, we’ve got emerging roles such as app developers and highly specialist developer roles,” he added.

The above research echoes similar findings from the now defunct Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency in 2013. The body’s ICT Workforce Study predicted the industry’s share of the country’s entire labour market would jump from 4.1 to 7.1 per cent between 2012 and 2017.

Nevertheless, the agency said businesses must invest in training for employees to ensure the effective retention and utilisation of technology skills.

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