Members of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) are generally positive about the present and future of Australia’s ICT industry, according to results from a survey by the industry body.
Business confidence is strong, as 69 percent of respondents replied that they are “confident” in the country’s economic future, and 73 percent said that they are actively growing and hiring this year.
The public sector is expected to be a major contributor to the industry as 85 percent of those surveyed pointed to Government and infrastructure sectors as having the greatest adoption and growth of ICT in 2021.
However, while the Government invests in improving its own systems, it does not fully recognise the importance of ICT to the Australian economy, the respondents said.
The members offered three big suggestions for how to begin to close this gap: 73 percent advocate for greater industry engagement, 61 percent for improved procurement processes, and 60 percent for attracting, retaining or upskilling government employees.
Predictably, the skills shortage was noted as the biggest barrier to growth for the industry.
65 percent of respondents said security skills would be their focus for new hiring in 2021, an increase of 10 percent over the results of the 2020 survey, and 60 percent replied that they would be looking to hire talent with cloud-specific skills.
AIIA chief executive Ron Gauci said, “The AIIA’s member survey shows clearly there is strong confidence in the Australian economy amongst the ICT sector. Our members are keen to continue to expand their businesses and hire local talent to support this. The demand for local skills, led by skills in cybersecurity, is strong in Australia.
“The skills shortages demonstrate our governments’ need to do more to help fill these skills shortages. It is important for Australia’s digital sovereignty that we are able to fulfil this demand with local skills. Both State Governments and the Federal Government need to support the skills development of our domestic workforce to help meet the demand for these skills. Working and engaging with industry is the best way for governments to achieve this.
“Australia’s economic recovery can be led by innovation and investment in technology. Governments must continue to work to address Australia’s digital skills to support our digital transformation, provide a skilled workforce to support economic growth and protect our digital sovereignty."
The AIIA is a not-for-profit organisation. Respondents included AIIA members, from multinational ICT firms through to local start-up firms.