AIIA pushes for Aus Govt to increase industry engagement
The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has released the results of its survey, conducted with Australia’s ICT industry. Respondents included AIIA members, from multinational ICT firms through to local start-up firms. Respondents believe the possibilities innovative technologies offer the Australian economy are not being realised by governments, with only 35% of respondents stating they believe that governments understand the importance of the ICT sector to the Australian economy. While this is an increase on 2020 results, it still indicates that a gap exists between industry and government.
Survey respondents stated that governments need to increase industry engagement, with 73% of respondents agreeing that this is a key way governments can improve their understanding of and approach to ICT-related opportunities and challenges. This will be followed by governments making improvements to the ICT procurement processes (60.9%). Nearly 85% of respondents also believe that the government and infrastructure sectors will have the greatest adoption and growth of ICT in 2021.
The survey indicated strong confidence in the future of the Australian economy among 69% of respondents, with only 15.5% concerned about the future of the Australian economy. This is also reflected by the fact that 73% of respondents said they expect to be actively growing and hiring in 2021. Additionally, 65% of respondents indicated that they are looking to hire staff with cybersecurity skills in 2021, marking a 10% increase compared to the AIIA’s 2020 survey results. Cloud-specific skills are the most in-demand skills, with nearly 60% of respondents revealing they will be hiring staff with these skills in 2021.
Skills shortages were nominated as the greatest barrier to the growth of the Australian ICT sector. Recently, the AIIA launched its Skills Hub, to help address Australia’s skills shortages in the ICT sector, grow the local skills base and improve employment opportunities for industry and workers. AIIA CEO Ron Gauci said the skills shortages demonstrate the Australian governments’ need to do more to fill the gaps, adding that it is important for Australia’s digital sovereignty that this demand is fulfilled with local skills.
“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. 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,” Gauci said.
A study by ACS revealed that the technology sector contributed 805,525 jobs to the Australian economy; the ICT sector is expected to continue its growth and provide more than 1.1 million jobs in Australia within the next five years. Gauci noted that Australia’s economic recovery can be led by innovation and investment in technology, with governments working to address Australia’s digital skills to support its digital transformation, provide a skilled workforce and protect the country’s digital sovereignty.
“The AIIA will continue to champion this for our members, lobby governments to support domestic skills development and support our members’ needs with platforms such as the AIIA’s Skills Hub,” Gauci said.
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