Queensland tech sector job growth to lead Australia over next five years

Australian Computer Society President, Ian Oppermann

Queensland is forecast to lead the nation in tech jobs growth over the next five years, according to the 2021 ACS Digital Pulse report.

Prepared by Deloitte Access Economics for ACS, Digital Pulse tracks the key trends in Australia’s technology workforce and the sector’s potential over the next five years.

Key Queensland findings in the report include

  • Queensland’s IT sector is forecast to grow 5.9% per annum over the next five years, above the national prediction of 5.4%.
  • Despite Covid, the state’s tech workforce grew 2.07% to 111,574 last year
  • Queensland has the nation’s third largest ICT workforce however the gap with NSW and Victoria is predicted to narrow over the next five years.

2021 ACS Digital Pulse report’s national findings include

Over the next five years, the technology workforce is forecast to exceed 1.1m Australians, growing more than four times faster than the broader labour force numbers.

Young Australians are recognising the value of digital skills with IT being the fastest growing field of education for domestic enrolments with over 41,000 in 2019.

Nevertheless, current trends indicate an impending gap between the need for extra 60,000 technology workers each year and just 7,000 domestic IT degree graduates. Boosting reskilling and restarting skilled migration will be essential to meet Australia’s ICT needs.

The Australian ICT sector’s gender imbalance may hold the economy back, as achieving parity in the industry would boost employment by 5,000 new workers a year in the first 20 years.

The top software programming skills demanded by employers include SQL (requested in 14% of job postings), Java (10%) and DevOps (9%).

ACS President, Ian Oppermann said, “The forecast strong growth of the Queensland technology workforce underscores the digital transformation of the state’s industries.”

“The projected increases show how important that digital transformation will be to the economy in coming years and the importance of ensuring we have the right mix of technology skills to serve the needs of industry and society.”

ICT sector growth will however provide challenges to the national economy.

The report identifies a looming gap between the 60,000 new technology workers needed per year and the current numbers of domestic IT degree completions.

The Australian technology workforce’s future greatly relies on reskilling from other industries.

Meanwhile, the lack of female participation could cost the economy $11bn over the next two decades unless we accelerate towards gender parity across the technology workforce.

Digital Pulse identifies areas to address ICT weaknesses

  • Promote ICT education
  • Deepen digital skills across industries
  • Boost female participation in ICT
  • Re-energise digital transformation programs
  • Identify IT contractors’ capabilities