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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 nearly 14% between 2020 and 2021. Further, the employment level is projected to grow to 342,900 by 2025.

The second largest sector is Telecommunications Services, with 80,100 in 2021. Between 2001 and 2021, the trend for employment levels has been downward, although the projection to 2025 indicates a slight increase to 82,100. Employment levels in the Internet Service Providers, Web Search Portals and Data Processing Services sector have decreased significantly from 2001 to 2021, although there was an increase in 2019. The level is projected to increase to 8,900 in 2025.

Program enrolments have decreased since a high of 97,120 in 2016, falling to 60,620 in 2020. Program completions have followed the same trend, falling from 24,480 in 2016 to 18,970 in 2020.

In 2020, around 495,330 subjects were delivered as part of a nationally recognised training program while approximately 34,590 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

  • Creativity.

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

The Cyber Security Cross Sector Project Public Paper by PwC’s Skills for Australia 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.

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 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: 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

Cyber Security Cross Sector Project Public Paper – 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

Innovation and Science Australia

National Broadband Network

National Innovation and Science Agenda

 

Employee associations

Australian Computer Society

Australian Services Union (Information Technology & Business Equipment)

Communications Workers Union Australia

Information Technology Professionals Association

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Employment Projections, available from the 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 2021, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ06 - Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, viewed 1 August 2021, https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2021    

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit, 2001 to 2021, 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, 2020 Program Enrolments by:

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

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 Burning Glass Technologies 2021, Labour Insight Real-time Labour Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2021, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills and occupations according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2018 and June 2021 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
    • 2631 Computer Network Professionals
    • 2613 Software and Applications Programmers
    • 2611 Business and Systems Analysts
    • 2247 Management and Organisation Analysts
    • 2621 Database and Systems Administrators, and ICT Security Specialists
    • 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: 26 Oct 2021
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