Information Communications Technology (ICT) spending in Australia is forecasted to grow to $49,452.6 million by 2016, according to new research from International Data Corporation. While the market is growing exponentially, Australia is currently facing a shortage of skilled workers in its ICT sector. As I dug deeper into the labor force issue, I found that the future outlook for the Australian ICT industry does not seem as positive as the growth forecast indicates.
The main challenge for the Australian ICT industry is the workforce deficit. For the next three years, 35,000 more ICT professionals will be required in the country. This is three times the projected number of domestic ICT graduates from Australian Universities over the next three years. Workforce shortage affects productivity and efficiency with fewer workers available to create value. While the supply cannot match the rising demand, the shortage will cut the capacity of the industry overall. Then it will push the demand to flow into other locations and lead to lost sales.
Australia's ICT sector is diverse, but its subsectors are not well connected. While the large industry players such as the multinational corporations are generating the most revenue in the country, small domestic companies are generating innovation and exports. It is not common for companies to communicate within the industry, so information cannot be exchanged in a timely manner. Moreover, Australia's ICT industry has a very broad product spectrum, from software and media content to electronics. This makes Australia competitive at the international level because it offers a large range of products, but at the same time, Australia loses some competency at the product level because it does not specialize in one specific area.
In all, the Australian ICT industry is growing tremendously and is expected to grow more in the future, as technology is becoming a larger part of people’s lives. A workforce deficit is the most urgent issue in Australia's ICT industry and solving it requires the cooperation of industry players and the government. Communication within the industry and featured products are also challenges for the Australian ICT industry.