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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

The Information and Communications Technology IRC was not required to submit an annual update to their 2019 Skills Forecast during 2020. As such, the version published in 2019 remains the most recently published Skills Forecast for this industry.

Industry cluster snapshot

Please note: any employment projections outlined below were calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics prior to COVID-19.

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 seen strong growth over the past couple of decades. 2020 has seen the highest employment level with 271,800 and is projected to grow to 287,400 by 2024. The other large sector is Telecommunications Services. 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 increased as a sector of employment in 2019 but declined again in 2020 and is projected to continue up to 2024.

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 remained stable at around 97,000 over the 2015–16 period but in 2019 enrolments have declined to 64,760. Program completions have declined somewhat, falling from a high of 26,760 in 2015 to 19,450 in 2019. In 2019, around 521,370 subjects were delivered as part of a nationally recognised training program while approximately 53,270 were delivered not 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 Computer Network Professionals and Software and Applications Programmers. The top employers for the Information and Communication Technology industry include IBM, Telstra and DXC technology.

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.

 

The Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Predictions 2019 report produced by Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) group highlights 5G, AI, IoT, 3D printing and changing business models in its predictions for the coming years. It is predicted that AI solutions will become increasingly accessible to organisations with less specialised AI skills in the form of “off the shelf” products, but AI skills will still be needed within organisations to ensure the systems meet business needs.

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 an 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 (2018 update) by the Australian Cyber Security Network (AustCyber) identifies cyber literacy as a must-have skill for every Australian worker, regardless of occupation. It also identifies a larger than anticipated cyber security skills gap that is acting to the detriment of the cyber security sector. The Competitiveness Plan estimates that domestic Cyber Security sector employment could increase by 12,600 jobs by the year 2026. 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
  • Protect and defend
  • Oversee and govern
  • Analyse
  • Investigate
  • Collect and operate.

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.

South Australia’s Training and Skills Commission predicts an increase in ICT skills demand in as technologies continue to change and become more widely adopted in all industries, as well as an increase in demand for ICT experience in strategic and managerial roles.

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.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant research, organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

 

Relevant research

Australia’s Digital Pulse 2018 – Deloitte Access Economics for the Australian Computer Society

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

Cyber Security Cross Sector Project Case for Change – PwC’s Skills for Australia

Cyber Security Cross Sector Project Public Paper – PwC’s Skills for Australia

Cyber Security Sector Competitiveness Plan – Australian Cyber Security Growth Network (AustCyber)

Information and Communications Technology IRC’s 2018 Skills Forecast – PwC’s Skills for Australia

Information and Communications Technology IRC’s 2017 Skills Forecast – PwC's Skills for Australia

Information and Communications Technology Workforce Insights - Training and Skills Commission (TASC)

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

 

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 2020, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC, selected industry sub-divisions, employment projections to May 2024
    • 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 2020, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 August, 2020 http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202020?OpenDocument

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit, 2000 to 2020, 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, 2019 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 2019, Labour Insight Real-time Labour Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2019, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills and occupations according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2017and June 2020 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: 27 Nov 2020
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