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Information and Communications Technology

Overview

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry can be seen as comprising three main areas:

  • Information technology – this covers all areas related to processing, manipulating and managing information.
  • Telecommunications technology – this covers cabling, wireless, switching, transmission, radio frequency, and optical communications media and internet protocol networks.
  • Digital media – this covers design and production of multimedia and games for various platforms.

Please visit the following pages for data specific to the following Information and Communications Technology sectors:

The training packages covering the Information and Communications Technology industry are:

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Industry cluster snapshot

Employment and training snapshot

People employed in jobs in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) work across all industries, so it is difficult to capture total employment by industry.

As such, the employment data in the chart should be considered as indicative only. Further information on people employed in Information and Communications Technology by occupation can be found in the individual sector pages.

The chart shows that the largest sector by far is Computer System Design and Related Services. This sector has been growing, particularly since 2008, and is projected to expand further up until 2022. The other large sector is Telecommunications. This sector has seen relatively stable employment numbers over the period shown in the chart. Internet Service Providers, Web Search Portals and Data Processing Services has been declining as a sector of employment and is expected to decline further up to 2022.

The 2018 report Australia’s Digital Pulse (from Deloitte Access Economics for the Australian Computer Society) reported Australia’s ICT workforce at 663,100 workers in 2017, up 3.5% from 640,800 in the previous year. They forecast continued growth to a high of 758,700 by 2023. The spread of ICT workers was evident, with an estimated 51% of ICT worker employed outside of ICT specific industries.

Program enrolments across the two ICT training packages have remained very stable at a little under 100,000 over the 2014–16 period. Most recently, in 2017, enrolments have declined to 80,829. Program completions have declined somewhat, falling from a high of about 26,700 in 2015 to 21,751 in 2017. Subject only enrolments had a large increase in 2017 to 31,411, up from 8,795 the previous year. This suggests students may be choosing one or more subjects instead of whole programs when using this training package.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

According to the Information and Communications Technology IRC Skills Forecast, the priority skills for the Information and Communications Technology industry are:

  • Digital and digital literacy skills
  • Virtual collaboration skills
  • Adaptability
  • Resilience
  • Innovations, commercialisation and entrepreneurial skills.

According to job vacancy data, the top generic skills in demand in this industry are:

  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving
  • Planning
  • Building effective relationships
  • Troubleshooting.

This job vacancy data showed the top occupations in demand as Computer Network Professionals and Software and Applications Programmers.

In the Information and Communications Technology Industry Skills Forecast, the key demands impacting the ICT sector were:

  • the emergence of new digital technologies, including cyber security and cloud computing, which are creating a need for the rapid development of skills with these technologies
  • an increasingly connected economy, prompting better ICT integration strategies and therefore the need for more project and change management skills in ICT
  • ongoing changes in workplace roles, creating an increased focus on problem solving, change management, teamwork and communication within these new ICT roles
  • a rise in automation of manual processes creating industry need for specialist in computing, systems and diagnosis, alongside skilled workers to maintain automation technology.

The skills forecast identifies that employers in this industry often trust and rely on vendor certifications and may even prefer these over nationally recognised vocational training. Incorporation of some vendor certifications into the national training system may better provide for the needs of industry and students.

The report Australia’s Digital Pulse 2018 (produced by Deloitte Access Economics for the Australian Computer Society) found, based on an analysis of LinkedIn data that skills such as customer service, management and leadership were most common among ICT workers who had moved jobs recently. Sales and markets related skills, including social media skills and public speaking skills, were also prominent in these workers. This suggests that although technical skills are often core to ICT occupations, those in this industry need a well-developed profile of skills that include these ‘enterprise’ or ‘soft’ skills. The above report also suggests that a lack of female ICT workers could be holding Australian businesses back. Analysis found that women in more senior positions such as Chief Information Officer tended to outperform their male counterparts in interpersonal skills, persuasiveness and networking ability, all of which are important to a business’s growth and success. Equal representation in this sector generally has the potential to lift labour force participation and boost economic growth.

The Gartner CIO Agenda Report 2018 found, based on a survey of more than 3,000 Chief Information Officers, that skills in artificial intelligence, digital security, the ‘Internet of things’ and the use of blockchain topped the list of technologies in which business were seeking new skills. This may provide on insight into the direction of future training, which needs to ensure these skills accessible in the workforce for business.

Malicious cyber activities are a growing challenge for organisations worldwide and Cyber Security is one of the most rapidly growing industries both domestically and internationally.

The Cyber Security Sector Competitiveness Plan by the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network (AustCyber) reports that a serious skills shortage is limiting the growth of the Australian Cyber Security sector. The Competitiveness Plan estimates that the domestic Cyber Security sector will need to employ at least 11,000 additional workers over the next decade. The top requested work areas in Australian Cyber Security job advertisements over the past year according to the Competitiveness Plan are:

  • Securely provision
  • Operate and maintain
  • Oversee and govern
  • Protect and defend
  • Collect and operate
  • Investigate.

The Cyber Security Cross Sector Project Public Paper by PwC’s Skills for Australia also reports an acute demand for Cyber Security Professionals across industry. The paper highlights the following industry trends that are shaping the skills needs of the future Cyber Security workforce:

  • a critical shortage of skilled Cyber Security Professionals both in Australia and internationally
  • industry’s increased dependence on digital technology, the internet of things and protection of digital assets is driving demand for cyber security skills in the workplace
  • the fast pace of digital and technological change and rapid evolution of cyber-attacks is exposing an increasing number of organisations to cyber threats.

The paper identifies the most in demand cyber security skills as:

  • detecting and responding to threats or intrusions as soon as they occur
  • identifying and securing potential vulnerabilities.
  • assessing risks, hazards and vulnerabilities to cyber-attacks in a network or business environment
  • implementation of preventative measures against cyber-attacks.

The Cyber Security Cross Sector Project Case for Change, which followed on from the above paper, responds to these issues. It proposes two new basic units for ‘Cyber Security Awareness’ should be developed, available to a broad range of training packages to improve general cyber security awareness. This is alongside the addition of a ‘Cyber threat intrusion/detection and response’ skill set at the advanced diploma level, to provide specialist skills in the area. These new developments would complement the replacement of exiting units of competency that contain duplicated or obsolete content. This is to aid the overall goals of identifying and developing common training product to be used across a range of industries to increase cyber security skills.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2017, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC, selected industry sub-divisions, employment projections to May 2022
    • 57 Internet Publishing and Broadcasting
    • 58 Telecommunications Services
    • 59 Internet Service Providers, Web Search Portals and Data Processing Services
    • 70 Computer System Design and Related Services.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed January 2018, <http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202017?OpenDocument>

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit, 2000 to 2017, May Quarter
    • 57 Internet Publishing and Broadcasting
    • 58 Telecommunications Services
    • 59 Internet Service Providers, Web Search Portals and Data Processing Services
    • 70 Computer System Design and Related Service.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET students and courses, Program Enrolments by ICT Information and Communications Technology Training Package and ICT10 Integrated Telecommunications Training Package.

Priority skills data has been extracted from Information and Communications Technology IRC Skills Forecast. Each IRC has prioritised and ranked the generic skills.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2018, Labour Insight Real-time Labour Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2018, <https://www.burning-glass.com>.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills and occupations according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2015 and June 2018 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • ANZSCO major groups excluding Sales Workers and Managers
    • 700 Computer System Design and Related Services
    • 591 Internet Service Providers and Web Search Portals
    • 592 Data Processing, Web Hosting and Electronic Information Storage Services
    • 580 Telecommunications Services.
Updated: 31 Oct 2018
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