New South Wales is predicted to experience ICT employment growth of 1.8 per cent annually until 2020 – less than the annual national growth average of 2 per cent, according to a new report by the Australian Computing Society (ACS) and Deloitte Access Economics.
The forecast comes despite NSW experiencing relatively low levels of unemployment (5.3 per cent). Compared to other states and territories. NSW was also found to currently employ the highest number of ICT workers (234,924), followed by Victoria (183,247) and Queensland (95,402).
The new ACS/Deloitte report, Australia’s Digital Pulse, has suggested that a greater mix of ICT skills will be essential for technological development in NSW, calling ICT skills development an essential component of new job growth in the state.
The report found NSW’s projected growth areas in need of new workers over the next five years will include ICT trades, along with ICT management and operations.
LinkedIn data included in the report found that six out of the top 10 skills now sought after in ICT specialists are non-technical – including project management, sales and customer service skills.
Digital literacy was also found to be increasingly important for the 2.5 million Australians in non-ICT roles, as Australia’s digital economy is anticipated to grow to $139 billion, or 7 per cent of GDP, by 2020. This figure represents a 75 per cent increase in Australia’s digital economy since 2014, according to the ACS.
ACS NSW chair Richard Baecher said to improve its technological take-up and encourage further ICT jobs growth, NSW needed to ensure its education system, policy settings and business practices are all working towards equipping the country’s workers with the required technological skills.
“Addressing this significant skills shift is critical if NSW is to have sustained growth and stay ahead of the digital curve,” Mr Baecher said.
“Knowledge and services-based industries, driven by the combination of new technologies and ICT skills, are where the new jobs will be generated. [NSW] must continue to lead the nation in investing in these skills to help transition to a services based economy.”