This month a Tech Council of Australia report has provided a detailed roadmap for growing direct and indirect employment in tech sector jobs to 1 million by 2025 and to over 1.2 million jobs by 2030. 

The Australian tech industry has grown exponentially over the past decade as a result of numerous start-ups expanding into veritable global businesses. The report suggests there are currently over 100 tech businesses valued at over $100m, employing 861,000 people and contributing $167bn to national GDP. 

This new publication provides a roadmap for strengthening the burgeoning technology industry and enabling more high value start-ups to enter the industry and contribute to building secure, interesting and flexible work for all Australians. In order to realise the potential of a larger and productive tech industry that can generate 1 million Australian jobs by 2025, the roadmap tackles three key areas:  

  1. Promote the creation of and growth in start- up tech companies 
    - Fund New Entrants: growing the pipeline of new tech start-ups through funding programs, entrepreneurs will be able to generate 30,000 new jobs. 
    - Invest in existing early-stage tech companies: helping the existing pool of tech start-ups take the next step in their growth, will help the industry scale-up and generate another 65,000 jobs. 
  2. Enable the growth of large Australian companies that attract global finance, investment, and activity
    - Existing large Australian businesses have capacity to add 75,000 new tech related jobs, provided there is sufficient support for technological development in these businesses. 
  3. Fuel investment in technology by businesses outside the tech sector
    - As businesses in large Australian industries (banking, mining, retail etc.) invest in new technology, modelling suggests that an extra 258,000 new jobs and $40bn+ in value can be generated through pro technology policy and funding. 

The pathway towards this goal is heavily reliant on the education and training sector to provide high quality and timely skill delivery. In order to achieve the Roadmap’s objective of having 1 million people employed in the Australian tech sector, the Tech Council report estimates that 146,000 Australian workers will need to upskill and deepen their technology skills as they transition into the sector. At the same time the roadmap relies heavily upon young people to support growth - it is estimated that an additional 12,000 students will be needed – above the forecasted 56,000 students already anticipated to enter this sector over the next 4 years.  

Upskilling and deepening the technological abilities of so many Australian workers over next the four years will be an enormous undertaking. It is essential that the education sector is supported as it scales up training programs that deliver in-demand industry skills. Moreover, it will be crucial that workers are selected from a diverse range of backgrounds, career paths and skill levels. By selecting workers that have essential soft skills for success – i.e., critical thinking, a lifelong learning mindset, creativity, leadership – enables businesses to confidently invest in training programs that develop the harder core skills through upskilling programs and non-traditional training courses.

The Tech Council has provided a strong case for the development of the local technology sector in Australia that is underpinned by important growth in high quality employment opportunities. Pursuing growth in the tech sector is important to the increasing complexity of the Australian economy and in driving growth in the availability of secure, flexible, well remunerated and globally competitive employment for Australians at any stage of their career.  

In order to realise these ambitions, The Tech Council recommends sufficient government support, such as the expansion of subsidies that encourage new business creation in the tech sector. It is equally important that the education and training sector leads the way by creating a pipeline of job ready candidates that are equipped with the soft and digital skills to participate in the rapidly evolving tech sector.  

Brett Crossley

Brett is a Research & Policy Officer and contributes to the ongoing research and policy development projects in the Centre for Education and Training. Prior to joining the team, Brett had various roles in assisting clients with business processes, strategy research, market analysis and digital marketing. He is passionate about praxis and is motivated to ensure that research insights are operationalised in policy or business operations. Brett holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Environment and wrote his thesis about the influence of global private regulatory schemes on the Australian coffee market.