Australia isn’t performing poorly when it comes to the digital economy, we’re just not improving.
This week the ASC, an association for technology professionals, released the ASC Australia’s Digital Pulse 2020 report.
The annual report, prepared by Deloitte, identifies and examines workforce trends and highlights areas lacking investment. A key message is the fact there are many jobs connected to the industry, but under investment and digital literacy will impact the potential for Australia to be a leader.
The report said: “Even with this forecasted growth trajectory, Australia is not on track to become a digital leader. In the United Kingdom, technology workers make up 9 per cent of the entire workforce. To catch up, Australia would need to add over 60,000 new technology workers every year to 2025 – double the current forecast. But the world’s leaders in digital technology will not wait.” In late 2019, the state government revealed its Tasmanian ICT Workforce Plan 2020-23.
The first steps included creating an ICT workforce advisory committee in early 2020, which has met several times, and to appoint a Tasmanian technology advocate, which is yet to be done.
The plan identified an 8 per cent growth in the sector, where as the Deloitte report identified a 4 per cent growth. TasICT president Martin Anderson told the public accounts committee last week there was underinvestment in ICT in Tasmania.
“The way in which ICT is procured by the Tasmanian government also has a significant impact on the local industry,” he said.
“We see some of these issues in the response to COVID, where we were disappointed that digital infrastructure wasn’t included in any of the infrastructure funding that was announced in the immediate priorities.” He said there was no clear road map for the government in terms of services that could be digitised so that the local industry could prepare the workforce to respond. COVID-19 has presented a shift to a world of digital opportunities. This could be a winner in terms of up or reskilling, adding to the economy and improving government services. It’s time for that plan to be actioned.