'Biggest game in town' chases players

While it bypasses today's question about scarce skills, the IT Skills Hub's push to boost interest in ICT careers is focused on the next generation of IT professionals.

Brian Donovan, IT Skills Hub CEO, said enrolments in IT courses are down 25 per cent on previous numbers.

Research undertaken in Victoria by the Deans of the IT faculties of a number of institutions showed that attitudes of parents and careers teachers appeared to be part of the cause, he said.

"Perhaps there's been too much emphasis on the doom and gloom surrounding IT and it coloured perceptions.

"But, with average salaries around $74,000 - around 30 per cent up on all sectors - it's still the biggest game in town," Donovan said.

The IT Skills Hub, which has merged with the IT&T Industry Training Advisory Board, is also focusing on upskilling IT professionals.

Donovan said leadership programs in technical and business skill sets were under way at both senior executive and middle levels. The courses, mainly conducted in Sydney and Melbourne at this stage, are run over three days with ongoing coaching sessions to help IT professionals master the mix of business needs and technology advances.

He said the Hub took a strategic view of the industry with a market monitor that looked at the industry for a view on recruitment and salary movements. Such monitoring meant the Hub could be a primary source for the educational supply and demand intelligence providing feedback to academic institutions so that course planning could keep pace with the industry.

The merged board, which numbers 27 organisations, includes IT vendors, IT associations, a bank, academic groups and unions.

"We play a unique role in uniting all stakeholders on a common employer-led agenda for action," said Donovan who was previously with the Australian National Training Authority as acting CEO following his promotion from the role of general manager.

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