Around 12,300 new ICT jobs are expected to be available in the year to February 2013 with further growth anticipated to 2015 unless Australia enters a minimum two year recession, according to data from the Australian Computer Society.
The 2012 ACS Statistical Compendium – an analysis of ICT economic and social trends – based this jobs figure on data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in February this year and a model that measures jobs demand based on the ASX200.
The latest analysis also found that the Australian ICT industry generated revenue of $91 billion in the past 12 months, an 11 per cent increase on 2011. Our “digital economy” was valued at $100.2 billion in 2011 or 7.74 per cent of GDP.
“ICT rivals mining in terms of its contribution to the economy and unlike resources, technology and innovation of not a finite resource but has boundless potential for development,” said ACS’ chief executive Alan Patterson.
Currently, there are more than 381,000 ICT professionals working across Australia, up 31 per cent from 280,100 back in 2003.
ICT course enrolments down
But despite the job growth, the number of enrolments in ICT-related university courses in Australia in 2010 were half of what they were a decade ago. New 2012 data showed that completion rates are just 54.6 per cent with only 4547 students expected to graduate from these courses this year. This was down by 53 per cent from 9093 in 2003.
Patterson said this shortfall in young people completing ICT courses continues to be a major risk for the ICT sector and overall Australian economy.
“The disconnect between the 31 per cent growth in ICT industry employment since 2003 and the 53 per cent decline in domestic ICT graduates over the same period is a stark underscoring of a broken supply/demand equation,” said Patterson.
“In the US, commencements in undergraduate computer science programs rose 9.6 per cent in the 2011-12 school year and if Australia hopes to compete on the international stage, more must be done to increase the engagement of students in ICT.”
Patterson also quoted ABS data, which suggested that as many as 60 per cent of Australian businesses do not have an online presence and only one in four are using the Internet to receive orders.
He said that one in five businesses are relying on non-IT specialists for IT support while 13.4 per cent have no IT support at all, which underlined the need for professional ICT services.