Australian employers need new tech career pathways

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Friday, 25 August, 2023

Australian employers need new tech career pathways

Australian employers may be filtering out potential high-performing workers by requiring high formal educational qualifications rather than supporting alternative employment pathways, according to new research completed by Accenture under commission by Microsoft.

The research found that 90% of job advertisements for STEM roles require a bachelor’s degree or a higher qualification, which is overlooking historically under-represented groups such as women, people with disability and First Nations people.

Organisations that hire from or invest in alternative employment pathways could potentially unlock a more diverse workplace and attract employees who would otherwise have been passed over during the recruitment process, the research suggests.

This is increasingly important in light of estimations from the Tech Council of Australia that the technology sector will need an additional 186,000 people to meet the federal government’s target of filling 1.2 million tech-related jobs by 2030.

A report published for the research calls on Australia to change its approach to attracting and retaining technology workers, and urges organisations to set a target of hiring 20% of early-career tech workers through alternative pathways by 2030.

Doing so could unlock an additional 31,000 workers to fill Australia’s skills shortage, the report states. It estimates that an Australian employer with 100 employees and $30 million in annual sales could generate $800,000 in savings every year from improved retention rates, increase worker productivity by 14% and grow annual revenue by $2.3 million.

Microsoft managing director for Australia and New Zealand Steven Worrall said hiring 20% of early-career tech workers through alternative pathways could also deliver significant benefits to the wider economy, including $250 million in additional tax revenue.

“This report highlights the incredible opportunity that remains untapped in our diverse workforce, and how Australia and our economy can benefit from making the tech industry more accessible and inclusive. This isn’t just about corporate responsibility — it’s a strategy proven to yield significant economic and social returns,” he said.

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