Telco, services sectors set to grow

Despite significant losses in the past five years, the tech sector is set to provide above average job prospects to newcomers

Telecommunications and IT technical services sectors are set to grow by as much as 13.7 per cent over the next five years, according to a 2010 job index released by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).

The Information Media and Telecommunications industry was hardest hit in the five years to February 2010, with an 11 per cent decline in the overall workforce, amounting to 25,800 job losses, according to the index, which was released to coincide with the first anniversary of the Federal Government's Job Services Australia (JSA) job placement initiative.

The Northern Territory saw the biggest growth, with 3000 additional workers over the past five years, while South Australia's 19.2 per cent reduction was the worst of the states.

However, much of that national loss is expected to be regained by 2015, with the department forecasting a 9.2 per cent increase or 19,600 new jobs over that time.

The other tech-relevant job sector - Professional, Scientific and Technical Services - has seen a 28.6 per cent boom (189,500 jobs) over the past five years, with notable growth of 52,700 jobs in computer systems design. The sector is expected to grow by a further 13.7 per cent, or 111,200 jobs by 2015.

Unlike most commercial job indexes, the DEEWR's report doesn't specify a particular IT segment, but rather splits advanced technical workers - such as software developers and graphic designers - from telecommunications workers.

Nevertheless, the report does note that, despite continued job cuts in the media, telecommunications workers saw the biggest reductions in the Information Media and Telecommunications industry. Internet service providers, search portal operators and data processing services companies cut 9500 in the past five years, whereas general telecommunications services saw a reduction of 7500 staff.

Several telco companies have announced job cuts in recent weeks, with Alcatel-Lucent cutting roughly ten per cent of its Australian workforce. Concerns of an uncertain industry largely revolve around the rollout of the Federal Government's $43 billion National Broadband Network (NBN), which has seen many telco players scrambling for lucrative contracts. Many have even set up entire departments devoted to the network, even though the network could be axed under a Coalition-led Government.

The job index, which is distributed to high schools to inform students of possible careers, rates all relevant ICT-related positions with "above average" job prospects, while telecommunications trade workers were average.

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Tags Department of EducationEmployment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR)

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