Government outsourcing up as IT staff decline: ABS

IT professional numbers in government employment slipped while outsourcing expenditure increased -- up almost $400 million -- according to an Australian Bureau of Statistics report.

The current report, Government Use of Information Technology, Australia 1999-2000, found IT&T outsourcing expenses for the period were $1.2 billion or 27 per cent of the total $4.3 billion IT&T expenditure by government organisations when IT employees accounted for only 2 per cent of total employment within government organisations by June 2000.

IT&T expenditure accounted for just 5 per cent of total government operating expenditure, according to the report.

The ratio of IT&T outsourcing to total IT&T operating expenses in 1999-2000 showed little variation between federal, state and territory governments at 29 per cent and 27 per cent respectively. Local government reported a much lower ratio of 15 per cent.

In the 1997-1998 report, expenditure on IT&T by government in Australia was $3.3 billion, of which almost a quarter ($795 million) was spent on contract payments to other organisations. Of these contracts, more than two-thirds ($553 million) was for outsourcing ongoing services. Of the contract payments for IT&T services 89 per cent went to private sector service providers.

Almost another quarter ($788 million) of total IT&T expenditure in 1997-1998 was spent on wages and salaries of in-house IT&T employees. Federal departments and agencies had the highest proportion of IT&T support personnel (4.6 per cent) compared with 1.5 per cent in state and territory departments and agencies, and 1.4 per cent in local government.

The 1999-2000 report found federal departments and agencies had the highest proportion of IT employees to total employment (4 per cent), compared with 1 per cent in both state and territory and local government departments and agencies.

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