ICT unemployment at its lowest levels this century

ICT unemployment in Australia has recorded its lowest levels this century sitting at 5.1 percent, according to the Australian Computer Society's (ACS) 2006 ICT Employment Survey.

This is a huge improvement on 2003 when unemployment was at 12.4 per cent, or 7.2 percent in 2005.

The 2006 survey found more than two-thirds (69.5) percent of respondents were employed full time.

Tasmania has the highest concentration of unemployed ICT workers at 8.3 percent, followed by NSW at 7.9 per cent unemployment, Western Australia at 6.2 percent, Victoria at 5.5 percent, Queensland with 4.1 percent and South Australia at 2.2 percent.

ACS president Philip Argy said while the employment results are encouraging, age and sex discrimination experienced by some professionals is of major concern.

Argy said there is a "pocket of long-term ICT unemployed whose skills are vastly undervalued."

"The key challenge for our industry in the coming decade is getting the skills match right," Argy said.

"With profound skills gaps in many industry areas, training and retraining is critical and importing skills, or exporting work overseas, should be our last resort.

"This means our local ICT professionals require a well-rounded skills base, with particular attention to soft skills like project management, people management, negotiation and business case (ROI) development."

The survey polled 900 ACS members and also found 20 percent of respondents had been discriminated against on the basis of age, 11 percent discriminated against due to race, 37 percent of females responding to the survey felt they had been discriminated against compared to 1.3 percent of males.

A whopping 90 percent of respondents had enrolled in ICT related courses over the last three years, with 62 percent signing up for ICT related training, 43 percent taking personal development training and 39 percent business related training.

The largest sample age of respondents to the survey was the 25-30 year age group (21 percent). Next was the 31-35 years age group (16.3 percent) 36-40 (15.4 percent) then 41-45 (12 percent) and then the under 25 age group (11.8 percent).

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