It is no news to anyone today that the ICT industry is booming unimaginably and at a much higher rate than was predicted by the experts in the beginning of the new millennium. Australia is no exception, where the government sector equally employees as much of ICT graduates as does the private sector. A recent study suggests that the department of immigration (DIBP) of Australia employees as many as 1600 ICT professionals, the highest by a single concern in the country.
The same study, an outcome of a prolonged and deep research conducted jointly by the Australian Computer Society (ACS) and Deloitte Access Economics, was released on July 8th., 2015, and it throws light upon certain very important aspects of the ICT industry of Australia. It reveals that presently about 600,000 professionals are engaged with the ICT industry in the country and the requirement will go up by another 100,000 till 2020. While that is great news for the country’s IT sector, the problem lies elsewhere, which has been pointed out very critically in the report.
It finds out that while the number of engineering graduates and post graduates enrolling in the Australian universities annually since 2000 has grown by about 35% and 12% respectively, the undergraduates pursuing ICT has gone down substantially by about 30%. There is also a decrease of about 10% in ICT post graduate enrolments. Compare this to the need for ICT pros in Victoria alone that is projected to go up by 40,000, almost 3.2% annually over the next six years! The question that this study obviates is thus wherefrom will this extra band of people flow in?
If Australia loses self-sustainability in ICT, they have to fill it up through immigrant experts! As the major share of domestic experts are engulfed by the government jobs, the pressure automatically falls upon the private sector to arrange for the overseas workforce! This is an additional burden to the private companies. Why? Well, let’s check that out!
Bringing in overseas workforce through 457 type of visa is apparently easy since a lot of skilled experts are available in India, China and a few other countries. But the process of immigration is a long drawn one and a company trying to hire overseas pros has to bear most of the cost. There is however no guarantee that the worker joining in will not leave before this expenditure is equalled out! There is no chance of any kind of bonded service in Australia!
Secondly, the overseas workers have to be offered more amenities, perks and salaries than domestic ones! This also results in the overhead cost of the companies shooting up! Infusing too many of overseas employees can thus eat into the profit margin of the companies.
The solution as suggested by this report lies elsewhere. One suggestion is to completely odify the school curricula to make the kids oriented towards digital learning, innovation and orientation. Governmental policies and business practices existing have been identified as insufficient in this respect, and need a revamp!
However, an interesting thing also revealed in it says that almost 43% of ICT pros presently did not have an academic background of engineering or computers. That is perhaps the only immediate ray of hope for ICT companies in Australia!