ICT industry hit hard by talent crisis that is set to last decades

Offshoring no longer source of cut-rate labour, but way to find valuable talent

The ICT industry is the hardest hit by the current talent crisis and skills shortage in the Australian market, the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 CEO survey reveals.

With the baby boomer generation reaching retirement age, newly appointed Deloitte Technology media and telecommunications (TMT) industry group leader, Damien Tampling said CEOs cite chronic shortages of talent as one of their greatest concerns.

He echoed CEO concerns claiming the talent shortage will last for decades and that this poses a major crisis for the industry globally, and particularly Australia.

"Technology companies in particular, which rely heavily on top talent to drive innovation, will suffer from this global problem," Tampling said.

"Over half of the companies surveyed said they plan to expand their workforce by more than 25 percent with the vast majority wanting to grow organically.

"However, all agree the biggest challenge to companies is finding, hiring and retaining qualified employees."

Tampling said CEOs have made talent their top personal challenge in a bid to develop the next generation of leaders.

However, he said a large number expressed concern about the focus of national education systems.

This environment, Tampling said, has had a drastic impact on views around offshoring.

"Offshoring use to be seen as cut-rate labour supply, but now it is a valuable source of talent that is not available back home," he added.

An estimated 546 CEOs are included in the survey which covers the top 500 fastest growing tech companies across the globe including America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

To enter the fast 500 CEOs must demonstrate three years of exponential growth.

Of those surveyed 38 percent were from the Asia Pacific region.

The Deloitte findings support another survey conducted at PacRim, the 16th annual Pacific Rim Help Desk & IT Service Management conference, which was held in Queensland last month.

The PacRim poll found that 75 percent of A/NZ CEOs listed 'talent shortages' as one of the most serious items on their agenda.

Respondents said business leaders today need to be talent managers, especially those working in ICT where the skills shortage is even more acute.

Desperate to find help desk staff, Improving People team leader, Brad Cork, said he has been struggling to find staff for the last two years.

"I said to my team to go over to the local shopping centre, find anyone good at customer service and let me know. We ended up hiring someone from the local pharmacy," he said.

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