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Report: Education providers need to step up & help fix IT skills shortage

By Julia Gabel
Mon 22 Jan 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Australian CIOs are calling on the nation’s education systems to step up and help fill the widening skills gap in IT.

A mere 3% of Australian CIOs say that today’s education system is able to meet the demands of the IT employment market.

And 82% says it’s more challenging today, compared to five years ago.

This is according to survey by recruitment specialists Robert Half which stresses the need for IT education providers to enhance their services to meet the IT employment market’s demands.

In 12 months, Australia’s IT sector has created nearly 19,000 additional jobs.

That’s an annual growth of 9.6%, compared to 1.6% for the overall Australian employment market.

However, while employment in IT continues to boom, Australia is increasingly confronted with a shortage of staff in many IT functional areas.

More than eight in 10 (82%) Australian CIOs say it is more challenging to find qualified IT professionals compared to five years ago.

This highlights the important role of education as these institutions can help supplement the influx of skilled IT staff into the employment market, as well as help upskill existing technology staff.

IT security has been identified as the number one area that requires greater focus on by IT education providers (41%), followed by data/database management (34%), software/application development (32%), and systems administration and networking (29%).

This is not surprising considering Australia saw a 109% increase in security incidents and cyber-attacks in 2016, with 53% of Australian IT leaders saying cyber-security is the functional area where it is the most difficult to source skilled job candidates. 

Director of Robert Half Australia, Andrew Morris says, “As Australian companies accelerate their use of new technologies, there’s increasing concern that the current IT talent pool has not kept pace with market demand and skills that are required in the modern IT sector.”

“Education systems and providers play a key role, not just to guarantee a continuous flow of skilled IT professionals into the employment market, but also to help upskill existing staff.”

“With companies increasingly investing in training to develop the skills of their current IT workforce, it only further emphasises the key role that education providers play in helping to close the current and future skills gap.”

“Technology is changing continuously and rapidly which also implies the required IT skillsets are evolving continuously and rapidly,” adds Morris.

“To keep up with the changing marketplace and to equip their students with the skills required in the workplace of the future, education providers need to ensure their STEM qualifications, courses and degrees evolve at a similar speed technology does.”

“While education institutions are of great importance, a comprehensive approach where education providers work alongside the wider business community and potentially supported by government initiatives is key in order to successfully tackle the talent shortage.”

Morris concludes, “A career in IT and technology needs to be ‘marketed’ and promoted as an attractive career path. You will never create change unless you explain to people why they should change.”  

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