The Australian Tech Industry Landscape

Modis Posted 26 August 2022

The Australian Tech Industry Landscape

Australia’s technology sector is integral to the country’s economy. It employs one in 16 Australians, is the country’s third largest industry, and made up 8.5% of the GDP in 2021 alone.

The positive impacts of the sector aren’t constrained to tech businesses and products. Digital technologies are crucial in driving progress across every sector, from manufacturing, mining and construction, to transport, banking, and healthcare.

The pandemic highlighted the need for organisations to adopt digital technologies swiftly to ensure resilience and agility, future-proofing their business against potential crises.

With the rise of tech-ready organisations comes the need to source talent with the right skills to keep the momentum going. But while the sector is opening up opportunities to Australians, with competitive pay, room for professional growth, and the chance to join a diverse workforce, there remains a widening digital skills gap.

As we strive towards a smarter tomorrow, organisations will need to evolve at the same pace as emerging digital technologies to stay ahead of the curve. Meanwhile, bridging the digital divide will be key in building a future-ready workforce across Australia.

Australia’s Tech Industry: An Overview

Australia has long been an early adopter of emerging technologies, placing it as a leading digital economy in the world. COVID-19 accelerated this, reshaping the way we work and live. It’s estimated that the country advanced five years in business and consumer digital adoption in the space of around just two months. New technologies were adopted by nearly nine in 10 Australian businesses. And we saw unprecedented numbers of Australians working remotely, shopping online, and communicating virtually.

In response to the growing need to embrace digital technologies, the Australian Government launched the Digital Economy Strategy. The vision is to become a top ten digital economy and society by 2030. To achieve this, the strategy aims to build upon the country’s already strong digital foundation, while ensuring consistent growth throughout the industry. This means implementing a robust infrastructure prioritising cybersecurity, developing skills in emerging technologies, and identifying key areas and business that will drive digital growth.

We are already on the way towards realising that 2030 goal. Faster digital adoption led to economic growth of 26% between 2020 and 2021. And the tech sector is now the fastest-growing area for skills growth. Keeping this progress going will mean not just focussing on the sector as it is today, but consistently adapting to remain agile – ready for whatever tech challenges the future brings.

People Driving Australia’s Tech Future

The tech sector was already experiencing major growth pre-pandemic, but this ramped up as shifting working patterns, changing employee and consumer demands, and the increasing need to be future-ready drove organisations to rapidly adapt. Technology is now the 7th largest employing sector in Australia and 65,000 tech jobs were created in 2020 alone.

The Adecco Group’s Resetting Normal study revealed almost two in five workers are moving or considering new careers, while six in 10 are gaining or considering learning new skills. Workers are re-evaluating what they want from their jobs and are striving for a better work-life balance. Tech jobs are a smart option for many, as the Tech Council of Australia’s stats illustrate: tech jobs pay 64% more per week than the economy-wide average and workers in the sector consider their jobs more flexible than those in other areas. Moreover, tech jobs are accessible, with almost no pay gap between vocational- and university-educated applicants for entry-level roles and about 40% of tech workers not having a tertiary degree.

While jobs in the sector provide flexibility, competitive pay, and accessibility, there is a widening skills gap in the country. More organisations across every sector are realising that emerging technologies such as big data, AI, IoT, and cloud computing will be crucial in taking their business forward – and they need skilled people to make that happen.

To address the issue, the Tech Council of Australia has set a goal of employing 1.2 million people in tech jobs by 2030. To meet this goal, attracting and recruiting Australians will be key. But upskilling and reskilling will be just as crucial, as more and more jobs will require tech knowledge to some degree. This should involve not only honing the skills of existing employees but creating focussed tech programmes that bring valuable talent into the sector. We now have the opportunity to collaborate across industries to build a workforce that is ready to meet the tech challenges of today and tomorrow.

Addressing the Cybersecurity Challenge

As more jobs shift to less secure environments through the increase of remote working, more people study and connect online, and organisations rely on ever-more innovative technologies, cybersecurity is becoming a growing concern for Australia. With cybercrime costing the country’s economy AU$ 1 billion annually, there is an urgent need for organisations and the government to address the issue.

As well as establishing clear regulatory reforms, being able to detect, deter, respond to, and recover from cybersecurity attacks will require a skilled workforce. This doesn’t just mean people with tech know-how in security and risk management. Having soft skills that enable better communication of complex processes and issues to others will be crucial to enhance training and equip existing workers with the relevant tools to meet cybersecurity challenges. And people with in-depth knowledge in human-computer interaction will enable organisations to set up processes and systems with minimum risks.

Approaching Australia’s cybersecurity challenge through multidisciplinary skilling will be the way forward. By building a workforce that is not only tech-adept, but also communicative, analytical, and agile, we will shape a secure future.

Are you looking to take your business forward with skilled tech talent? Or are you taking the next step in your career in the tech sector? Reach out to us. Together, let’s develop a smarter tomorrow. 

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