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How is Australia going to meet the demand of the growing IT job market?

Posted by: Claudia Butler 18 Apr 17  | Technology

2017 is an exciting time to be in the Australian IT job market, with roles expected to increase by an average of 2.7% according to Life Hacker, but how can we meet this demand for such a specialist skills set?

The roles seeing the highest starting salaries include Cyber-Security Specialists, Software Developers and Business Intelligence. These increases are being offered competitively across Australia. The highest increase can be found in Melbourne (4.1%), closely followed by Brisbane (3.2%), Sydney (2.2%) and Perth (1.1%).

As the ongoing threat of Cyber-Security issues increases, so does the demand for specialist IT skill sets to help tackle the problem. Life Hacker also revealed that due to the increase in demand for IT specialists, IT professionals can expect to receive multiple job offers meaning when they accept a job they are in a good position to negotiate pay.

The ten best paid jobs in the Australian tech market in 2017 are, in no particular order:

1.       Cyber-Security Specialists

2.       Senior Developer (Front-end Development)

3.       Developer (front-end Development)

4.       Junior Developer (Back-end Development)

5.       IT Security Specialist

6.       Senior Developer (Full-Stack development)

7.       Business Intelligence Manager

8.       Junior Developer (Front-end Development)

9.       Business Intelligence Manager

10.   Database Administrator

With increasing demand and rising salaries, there are a number of roles which are consistently difficult to fill. According to Indeed, Ruby Developers are the  toughest IT roles to fill in Australia taking an average of 62 days.  The biggest skills gap was reported to be found in senior .net Developers where the demand greatly outweighed the supply by a total of 2.5%.

The analysis of Indeed’s global data found that IT jobs receive the highest salaries, but also present the most skills gaps. In a world where technology is fundamental to all businesses, companies need to ensure their IT staff are ahead of the crowd. Working in an ever-evolving environment where new technologies are appearing rapidly makes it difficult for IT experts to keep up. IT professionals need to be continually adding to their skill set otherwise they risk falling behind the pack.

There are many contributing factors to the IT skills gap. A recent report by SolarWinds discovered that many organisations are using Cloud and hybrid IT, in comparison to a few years ago, making work more “global, interconnected, and flexible”. Although applying the cloud to businesses is beneficial, it also presents many technological problems meaning “IT professionals are tasked with devising new and creative methods to monitor and manage this infrastructure in order to deliver the Quality of Service (QoS) end-users expect”. Ultimately, this means that hybrid IT can look considerably different in every business.

The SolarWinds report also said 62% of IT professionals that were surveyed felt that the use of cloud and hybrid IT had had an impact on their careers, such as learning new skills. However, it had not altered their career path. In contrast, 11% felt that it had altered their career path in some way.

“63% said an IT staff skills gap was one of the five biggest challenges of the cloud and hybrid IT, while 46% said increased workload/responsibilities was one of the five biggest challenges”.56% of participants felt that IT experts entering into the sector do not possess the relevant skills needed to manage hybrid IT.

The decline of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths in the public education sector, throughout Australia and other parts of the world, is also contributing towards the IT skills gap. It seems the education trends are shifting more towards finance, medicine, liberal arts and social sciences.

Statistics by PwC reveal “millennials will make up for 50 percent of the global workforce in 2020 and a whopping 75 percent by 2030”. Due to this, it is crucial that businesses understand how to attract and maintain this potential workforce and bridge the skills set gap in the IT sector.

According to Huffington Post, HR leaders are making big changes to attract potential millennials. YapStone, a payment technology start up, is making drastic changes. They said, “At YapStone, we know millennials want to constantly learn and grow, so we are dedicated to career mobility, meaning we want to provide constant development opportunities so that an employee can see their skills and career growing within the company.” YapStone clearly understand that the millennial generation are working within an ever-changing industry and are determined to create an environment where they can thrive.

YapStone are using four core proposals to help attract new talent and bridge the skills gap:

·         Upward mobility: YapStone understand that businesses evolve and as they do employees want to progress with it. They pride themselves on enabling employees to do so.

·         Social Responsibilities: They have created a YapCares program which enables employees to volunteer one day a week with a co-worker.

·         Flexibility: They offer a flexible time off policy which allows their employees to have flexibility on their time off and ensures they come back to work refreshed.

·         Empowerment: YapStone empower their employees by having a “teach and learn” policy which helps employees understand how their role can have a great impact on the business.

So How is Australia going to meet the demand of the growing IT job market?

The skills gap within the Australian IT sector means that IT professionals are being exposed to multiple jobs and opportunities to constantly learn new skills. It is vital for IT professionals to continually keep learning new skills to stay ahead of the crowd. This will also put them in a better position to negotiate opportunities as they have more ‘strings to their bow’.

As important as an array of skills will become, it is also crucial that companies create an environment to attract and retain professionals to the IT sector. Attracting the next generation of hires is a job that starts much sooner than when the hiring drive actually takes place. Similarly, the retention of these skilled hires is essential in maturing the IT functions of businesses.


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