Top 5 Digital & IT Skills challenges for Australia in 2022


During 2021, Australia faced a number of digital and IT skills challenges. Had these challenges been left, they would have had an impact on the country’s global position within the tech market, revenue for companies and ultimately the overall GDP brought in by the industry, which currently stands at 6.6% GDP.

In response to the threat of a skills shortage, the Morrison Government has been investing in a number of projects to target resolution of these issues, alongside an ambitious aim to become a “leading digital economy” by 2030 driven by the strong presence of technical purists in areas such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

However, as part of this blog we want to focus on the short to medium term issues, what are they and how challenging they are.

  • Workforce digital skills & experience.
    • CEO’s in 86% of Australian companies are concerned that the country does not currently have enough of the right workforce digital skills and experience to meet future needs.

    • Furthermore, an additional study carried out in 2021 found that the country needed a 79% rise in digital skills to remain competitive in the global workforce environment.

  • Cloud Architecture design and skills
    • Cloud remains a challenge in terms of IT skills for a number of countries, Australia is no exception to this challenge.

    • A recent study found the country is going to see a growth of 43% in Cloud roles and a need for 6.5 million workers by 2025.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
    • A number of studies have found AI among one of the biggest risks for the country and industry in Australia with an estimate that the area will be worth $300 billion. This is against a backdrop that the Morrison Government has previously been accused of failing to invest in AI based start-ups.

    • Despite the air negativity, the country has seen a response in 2021 with a pledge to invest 124 million AU$ in a National Artificial Intelligence Centre and network of AI centres to drive the adoption of AI in the country.

  • Cybersecurity skills
    • The country faces an expectation of needing 7000 additional workers in the cyber security workforce within 3 years, combined with ever increasing risks.

    • Again, rather like AI, this is another area where there has investment with 8 million AU$ as part of new projects focusing on cybersecurity professional career pathways.

    • Unlike some other areas, additional investment is also being seen with a number of award funds for educational establishments, to highlight these cybersecurity career pathways.

    • Cybersecurity as a skill and requirement has, as a result of the pandemic, been more critical than ever beyond just security measures of physical hardware and software to ensuring that all team members have a fundamental basic understanding of remaining secure.

  • Software development skills
    • The brutal statistic is that the country needs a massive 57% stronger workforce of software development skilled people by 2028 than there is currently.

    • This figure does not take account of the time it will take to develop those skills and experience, a number of analysts suggest that given the level of skillset required it could take a number of years to even reduce that level of requirement.

Ultimately, as can be seen there is a diverse range of areas where the Australian IT industry is in need of fundamental or advanced skills.

The wider digital skills workforce is going to have to adapt to change and also meet the global competitive race to provide advanced IT skills.

In relation to some of these challenges the Morrison Government has made significant investments (alongside in some cases award funding) and private company investment, but the reality is that across all areas the country is facing challenges (in some cases similar to other nations). However, in some areas it is equally clear that some fundamental challenges remain and are currently not seeing the investment they require to make real change.

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