Australia on track to deliver 1.2 million tech jobs by 2030 target

The expansion of Australia’s tech workforce to 935,000 in February this year represents 78 per cent of the Government’s 2030 target of 1.2 million tech jobs, with the country seeing an 8 per cent bump in tech workers last year, according to the Tech Council of Australia (TCA) research.

The study, launched by Minister of Industry and Science, Ed Husic and Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor, found that of 10,500 jobs that were added in the first quarter of 2023, the vast majority were in non-tech organisations, described as “tech-intensive jobs” within non-tech industries, such as retail, banking, professional services, government and mining.

TCA chief executive, Kate Pounder, commenting on the results of the study, said that the growth of tech jobs in non-traditional tech industries reflected a long-term structural change in the Australian economy, proving that digital skills were becoming “deeply embedded into all facets of the economy”.

At the same time, the report confirmed that overall job numbers in the direct tech sector remained steady, despite numerous announcements from tech companies concerning layoffs and downsizing.

Further, the research revealed that for every job lost over the past quarter, 20 new jobs were created.

Driving the increase were software developers, data analysts and cybersecurity professionals, primarily working in non-tech companies, including banks and supermarkets.

Australia’s tech sector is currently a major employer in all states and territories, representing the country’s 7th largest employing industry in the country. The relatively high average wage for tech jobs, which stands, currently, at approximately $132,000, gives the sector the second-highest earning power of any advertised on recruitment services website SEEK, only after chief executive jobs.

“Tech jobs are high paying and important, and importantly, their flexibility makes them accessible for those that have faced discrimination in other sectors, such as women and the differently abled,” Pounder said.

However, she stressed, there was still more to be done to help the economy achieve its 2030 target, with Australia still requiring “hundreds of thousands more people working in tech to meet the country’s expected digital needs over the next decade”.

TCA has identified five key areas in which the tech sector would continue to work with the Federal Government to reach its 1.2 million tech jobs by 2030 target. These areas include: increasing awareness of the tech jobs opportunity; fixing gaps in education and training pathways; improving diversity in the tech workforce; targeting skilled migration in areas of high need and greatest shortages; and improving industry-level workforce supply and demand forecasts.

Minister Husic noted that fee-free TAFE and vocational education and training places have seen a surge in enrolments this year, with around one in 10 (upwards of 14,500 of the 146,000) fee-free TAFE enrolments to date within technology and digital courses.

“With a steady increase to nearly 935,000 tech workers this year, compared to 865,000 last year, we are well on track to deliver 1.2 million jobs by 2030,” Husic said.

“Boosting the number of tech jobs in our workforce is not a ‘nice to have’ – they’re incredibly vital to building stronger, competitive Australian businesses in the long run. Workers with tech skills are highly sought after for well-paying, secure jobs.”

Husic added: “On coming to government, we prioritised tackling digital skill shortages by investing in local training and skills development along with attracting talent from overseas.”

Minister O’Connor added that database and systems administrators, ICT security specialists and systems analysts remained in the top 20 in-demand occupations.

Next month, the Digital and Tech Skills Working Group, comprised of industry, unions and the training and education sectors, is also due to deliver a ‘Digital Apprenticeship’ scheme report to the Government.