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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.

Industry cluster snapshot

Employment and training snapshot

People employed in jobs in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) work across all industries, making it a challenge 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 seen strong growth over the past couple of decades, with the employment level increasing by over 21% between 2020 and 2022. The employment level is projected to grow further to 342,900 by 2025.

The second largest sector is Telecommunications Services, with an employment level of 86,100 in 2022. Between 2006 and 2021 the trend for employment levels has been downward, and projections indicate this trend will continue to 2025.

Employment levels in the Internet Service Providers, Web Search Portals and Data Processing Services sector have decreased significantly from 2002 to 2022, although there has been some fluctuations throughout this period. The employment level is projected to remain steady at the 2022 level of 8,900 to 2025. Program enrolments in Internet Publishing and Broadcasting are projected to increase to 2,900 by 2025.

Program enrolments have decreased since a high of approximately 78,880 in 2017, falling to around 54,750 in 2021. Program completions have followed a similar trend, falling from 22,640 in 2017 to 16,950 in 2021 after a slight increase in 2019.

In 2021, around 427,640 subjects were delivered as part of a nationally recognised training program while approximately 25,760 were not delivered as part of a nationally recognised program.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

According to the Information and Communications Technology IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, the priority skills for the Information and Communications Technology industry are:

  • Work health and safety

  • Teamwork and communication

  • Problem solving

  • Technical skills to keep pace with consistent change and evolution or technology in the sector.

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 Software and Applications Programmers and Computer Network Professionals The top employers for the Information and Communication Technology industry include DXC Technology, IBM, and Datacom Group Limited.

In the Information and Communications Technology IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, the key demands impacting the ICT sector were:

  • Changing technology, including emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), and increasing growth in computing power and data volume requiring highly specialised skills to leverage, design and implement

  • Increasing adoption of automation technologies, estimated to impact 25–46% of current work activities by 2030 varying across sectors and job roles, increasing demand for ICT skills and job roles to lead and execute automation initiatives

  • The increasing importance of cyber security in the business landscape, due in part to new legislative requirements for the protection of personal data, driving demand for data security and privacy awareness skills

  • Increased competition, spurring a change in business models among ICT businesses, in turn changing the array of job roles and skills required to deliver services

  • The rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN), both in removing the need to maintain legacy internet infrastructure from large telecom companies and in the changing skill needs for the rollout’s transition from implementation to ongoing maintenance and operation of the network itself.

The skills forecast identifies vendor certifications as being widely used and sought after in the ICT industry. A Vendor Certification Working group reporting to the ICT Industry Reference Committee has been established to consider how vendor certifications may be accommodated in the vocational education and training (VET) system. The skills forecast also identifies that higher level qualifications are in demand in the ICT sector, with many ICT VET graduates going on to undertake further training.

ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse 2021: Future directions for Australia's technology workforce forecasts there will be over 1.1 million technology workers in Australia by 2026, and is forecasted to require an Artificial Intelligence (AI) specialist workforce of between 32,000 and 161,000 by 2030. This includes professionals in computer vision, robotics, data science, human language technologies, and other related fields. Nearly half of this growth is forecast to occur in ICT technical and professional roles, while a further 26% of growth is expected to occur in ICT management and operations roles.

Advances in applied emerging technologies, including in advanced data science, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and blockchain are presenting significant opportunities. Case for Change: ICT Information and Communications Technology Training Package finds employers are increasingly seeking employees with skills in applied emerging technologies to fulfil the requirements of in-demand jobs like artificial intelligence specialists, blockchain solution architects and robotics software engineers. Since the ICT industry is only going to continue advancing, it is critical that available training reflects current industry trends so that Australia’s workforce is equipped with in-demand ICT skills.

The Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Predictions 2021 report produced by Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) group highlights intelligent edge, cloud migration, 5G, and XR (a combination of virtual, augmented and mixed reality) in its predictions for the coming years. Expansion of the intelligent edge will be driven primarily by telecoms deploying the intelligent edge for 5G and future G networks, and by hyperscale cloud providers optimizing their infrastructure and service offerings.

The Hi-Tech Sector Plan 2030 identifies eight frontier technologies that will support economic growth in South Australia, and includes: Industry 4.0; Cyber Security; Quantum Computing; Internet of Things; Computer vision, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality; Block Chain; Artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced data analytics; and Optics and photonics. South Australian Industry Skills Councils identified skills across STEM and ICT, as well as specific hi-tech expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and data analytics as vital for growing all industries.

Digital Economy Strategy 2030 reports that government investments have been made to expand high-speed internet and mobile coverage in regional Australia, and in the underlying infrastructure to support next generation telecommunications technologies, such future G technologies.

Cyber security continues to be one of the most rapidly expanding sectors worldwide. While the pandemic is having economic impact on Australia’s cyber security providers, it has accelerated digitisation trends and driven unprecedented domestic demand for cyber security. According to Australia’s Cyber Security Competitiveness Plan 2020 Update, Australians are expected to spend $7.6 billion on cyber security from both local and international providers by 2024. Over the next decade, the Australian cyber security sector will become larger and an additional 7000 jobs are projected to be added to the industry, totalling 33,500 in Australia’s workforce. The report lists also skills shortages as one of the key future growth challenges.

COVID-19 impact

The Australian Information Industry Association identifies an acceleration in digital transformation in response to Covid-19, with businesses and workers needing to leverage digital technologies  to adapt to “the new normal” and changes such as working remotely. Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering in their report Investing in a Post-COVID-19 Tech Boom identify a need to improve equity of access to health, education, information and the digital economy by upgrading weaker parts of the network.

The ICT sector performed far better than expected at the beginning of the pandemic, and ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse 2021: Future directions for Australia's technology workforce finds Australia’s better-than-expected economic performance was partly due to technology enabling businesses to adapt to a dramatically changing and uncertain environment. COVID-19 is expected to have lasting impacts on the economy and our use of digital technology, and some of the major areas of transformation include:

  • Working from home
  • E-Health services
  • E-Commerce
  • Online learning
  • Digital government

The report also states that previously, skilled migration has been a major source of talent for Australia’s ICT workforce. Despite the strong demand for the technology workforce, COVID-19 and border closures have disrupted skilled migration to Australia, leading to skills shortages.

Links and resources

IRC and Skills Forecasts

 

Relevant research

ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse 2021: future directions for Australia's technology workforce - Deloitte Access Economics

Australia’s Cyber Security Competitiveness Plan 2020 Update: Driving Growth and Global Competitiveness – AustCyber

Building Australia’s Digital Future in a Post-COVID World - Australian Information Industry Association

Case for Change: ICT Information and Communications Technology Training Package: Project 21A | In-demand Technologies, Project 21B | Refresh Training in ICT - PwC’s Skills for Australia

Digital Economy Strategy 2030 - Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Hi-Tech sector plan 2030 - South Australian Department for Innovation and Skills

Investing in a Post-COVID-19 Tech Boom - Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering

Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Predictions 2021 – Deloitte

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Australian Digital and Telecommunications Industry Association

Australian Industry Group

Australian Information Industry Association

Business Council of Australia

 

Government

Australian Communications and Media Authority

Industry Innovation and Science Australia

National Broadband Network

 

Employee associations

Australian Computer Society

Australian Services Union (Information Technology & Business Equipment)

Communications Workers Union National

Information Technology Professionals Association

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Industry Employment Projections viewed 1 August 2021, Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC, selected industry sub-divisions, employment projections to May 2025
    • 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 2022, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ06 - Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, viewed 1 August 2022. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2022    

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit, 2002 to 2022, 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 Services.

 

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET students and courses, from the following training packages:

  • ICT Information and Communications Technology Training Package
  • ICT10 Integrated Telecommunications Training Package.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2017 to 2021 program enrolments
  • 2017 to 2021 program completions
  • 2017 to 2021 subject enrolments.

Priority skills data has been extracted from Information and Communications Technology IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast. Each IRC has prioritised and ranked the generic skills.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Lightcast 2022, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Boston, viewed August 2022, https://lightcast.io/apac.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills and occupations according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2019 and June 2022 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.
  • Employers
    • 2613 Software and Applications Programmers
    • 2631 Computer Network Professionals
    • 2611 ICT Business and Systems Analysts
    • 2621 Database and Systems Administrators, and ICT Security Specialists
    • 2247 Management and Organisation Analysts
    • 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: 28 Oct 2022
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