Australian CIOs believe there is a clear need for IT education providers to enhance their services to meet the IT employment market’s demands. The findings come from Robert Half whose study has found only three per cent of Australian CIOs say today's education system is able to meet the demands of the IT employment market.
In 12 months, the IT sector has created nearly 19,000 additional jobs. This represents an annual growth of 9.6 per cent, compared to 1.6 per cent 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 per cent) Australian CIOs say it is more challenging to find qualified IT professionals compared to five years ago, highlighting 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.
With a 109 per cent increase in security incidents and cyber attacks in Australia in 2016 and 53 per cent of Australian IT leaders saying cyber-security is the functional area where it is the most difficult to source skilled job candidates, it is not surprising that IT security has been identified as the number one area that requires greater focus on by IT education providers (41 per cent), followed by data/database management (34 per cent), software/application development (32 per cent), and systems administration and networking (29 per cent).
“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,” notes Andrew Morris, director of Robert Half Australia. "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,” he says. “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.”
Morris says education institutions are of great importance, but feels there needs to be a comprehensive approach where education providers work alongside the wider business community. There is also a role for government initiatives to support work to successfully tackle the talent shortage. “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,” concluded Andrew Morris.