Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Developing Australia’s the Digital Workforce

Greetings from the Press Club in Canberra, where the Australian Computer Society (ACS) has just launched the report "Australia’s Digital Pulse: Developing the digital workforce to drive growth in the future" commissioned from Deloitte Access Economics (DAE). The report speculates about technologies which may effect manufacturing, construction and mining, but fails to address the effect ICT is already having on education.

The 108 page report predicts that Australia’s digital economy is will "grow significantly over the coming years". Technologies expected to expand are "cloud services, social media and mobile devices". These seem a safe prediction, but others are "3D printing in manufacturing, drones in the construction industry and driverless vehicles on mining sites". I doubt that any of these will be significant for Australia.

Australia already has driver-less trucks on mining sites and driver-less trains for ore transport. However, these provide only minor increases in productivity for declining industries.  "drones" (that is pilot-less miniature aircraft) may have a minor role in the construction industry. 3D printing will have a role in manufacturing and might provide a minor revival for Australia's declining manufacturing industry.

What is curiously lacking in the Deloitte report is mention of education as an industry. The report mentions education, but only in the role of providing ICT education. The report does not discuss the revolution taking place in all levels of education, through the application of ICT. In particular the report does not mention education as a twenty billion dollar a year export industry for Australia. ICT provides opportunities to expand Australia's education exports into new international markets. However, ICT also opens about half a million Australian education jobs up to overseas competition and could see much of the $80B education budget being sent overseas.

One interesting innovation in how the report as prepared is the use of LinkedIn to gauge demand for ICT personnel.


Executive summary 3

1. Digital economy snapshot 8

1.1 Future waves of digital disruption  10
1.2 Australia’s digital economy 13
1.3 Australia’s ICT workforce 16
1.4 ICT business activity 22
1.5 Migration of ICT workers 24
1.6 ICT education in Australia 27

2. Occupational analysis 30

2.1 Future demand for ICT workers  32
2.2 What ICT jobs are available?  38
2.3 Broader workforce ICT skills requirements 46

3. Workforce planning and development

3.1 The case for ICT workforce and skills development
3.2 Assessing gaps in the workforce
3.3 ICT professional development opportunities
3.4 Overseas examples of ICT workforce development initiatives 63

4. Future directions 66

References 70

Appendix: Statistical compendium 74
At a glance – Australia 76
At a glance – States and Territories 77
ICT employment 78
ICT migration 85
ICT higher and vocational education 87
Women in ICT 88
Older ICT workers 89
ICT research and development 89
Trade in ICT services 90
Detailed state figures 90
International comparisons 97

From: Australia’s Digital Pulse: Developing the digital workforce to drive growth in the future,  Deloitte Access Economics, March 2016

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