CIOs tackle industry standards, Generation Y

Tackling Australia's growing shortage of skilled IT staff and harnessing the talent required to create future leaders are just two of the priorities setting today's CIO agenda.

And when it comes to addressing those issues, CIOs are doing it for themselves.

The formation of the CIO Executive Council last year has created a brains trust of the top IT leaders in the country to create programs and initiatives to secure the future of the industry and raise the bar for career progression.

One issue topping the agenda is skills shortages and finding ways to attract Generation Y employees, a group which has turned its back on IT in droves.

As a result, the council has introduced the Future Leaders program which includes interviewing high school students to determine what steps can be taken to make IT more appealing.

The research found that while young people loved technology and their own personal gadgets, they did not see IT as a viable or rewarding career path.

Sydney-based global CIO for Colgate-Palmolive Barry Simpson said a "command and control" structure doesn't work for this generation.

"They need an environment where they can question and challenge the status quo and make the best use of their skills and energy," Simpson said.

"We also have to accept that Generation Y will not stay in the same job forever so we need to manage that expected turnover; I expect the shortage to continue to be a struggle."

Simpson is the latest in a long list of IT leaders to join the council which has more than 75 CIOs on board.

At the council's recent board meeting, CIOs agreed to visit universities and high schools to offer students cadetships. A television commercial promoting IT careers is also in the works.

On the other side of the coin, the council has also been actively working to establish accreditation and standards for the profession that will be the equivalent of a CPA (Certified Practicing Accountant).

The Queensland University of Technology, Swinburne University of Technology and the University of South Australia are involved in the initiative while the Australian Institute of Company Directors is also introducing courses as early as November.

The initiative will culminate in an awards dinner on November 8 where the Asia Pacific's top 20 CIOs will be awarded the title of CPIO (Certified Practicing Information Officer).

Another program that has attracted a lot of interest is the CEO/CIO discussion panel where both parties get to tell it like it is and identify ways to work more effectively together.

The growing influence of IT executives in the boardroom means IT is no longer an adjunct to the rest of the business but a core part of corporate strategy.

The event was attended by CEOs and CIOs from JP Morgan Chase, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Blake Dawson Waldron and KPMG.

The CIO Executive Council is a division of IDG, the publisher of Computerworld.

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More about Ashurst - AustraliaAustralian Institute of Company DirectorsBlake Dawson WaldronColgate PalmoliveCommonwealth Bank of AustraliaCommonwealth Bank of AustraliaCommonwealth Bank of AustraliaCPA AustraliaJP MorganKPMGMorganQueensland University of TechnologyQueensland University of TechnologySwinburne UniversitySwinburne University of TechnologySwinburne University of TechnologyUniversity of South AustraliaUniversity of South Australia

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