The Australian IT sector is at a crossroads. The industry is rapidly growing, with the demand for new technology services and projects at an all-time high, according to Deloitte and the Australian Computer Society (ACS). But the ongoing shortage of workers is impacting the employee experience and the sector’s ability to deliver.
COVID-19, border closures, and limited immigration have combined into a perfect storm for employers seeking the right skills. The IT industry is no exception. But, unlike many industries whose workforces have been upended as a result of the pandemic, the tech sector has long been plagued by labor supply issues.
Broader talent opportunities
Domestically, a small population and long-term underinvestment in the right education, skills development programs, and training opportunities have left the Aussie technology industry struggling to sustain itself. As a result, many firms look further afield for the right talent. Yet, national immigration policies continue to materially impact the ability of many organizations to quickly acquire skills from the global job market.
Australian businesses are now battling many countries facing similar challenges. Reopening the nation’s borders will provide some welcome relief, reducing pressure on local workers and delayed projects. Opening new skilled labor pathways, broadening fast-track schemes, and reducing immigration requirements can further ease pressure—especially as the global talent war heats up.
The industry also needs to change its expectations around minimum skills requirements and be open to upskilling non-traditional candidates to fill in-demand roles. Structured, career hire programs should focus on attracting people from diverse groups, including a range of socio-economic backgrounds, educational experiences, and mature workers looking for new opportunities.
The power of partnership
An overall rethink on how Australia’s governments and industry come together to build skills—and reskill—is also needed to solve the sector’s skills shortage. A focused, strategic approach is required, with governments, industry, and education providers coming together to evolve and implement coordinated policies that ramp up the nation’s skill base.
Good progress has been made, as evidenced by the Skill Finder Platform and the Victorian Government’s Digital Jobs program. But there’s still plenty of room for growth and increased investment in more state and national programs.
At ServiceNow, we’ve been proactive in developing initiatives to increase our own local workforce. We combined with our partner ecosystem, training provider MEGT, and TAFE NSW for the NextGen Program. This offers candidates at any career stage a pathway into the tech industry, without requiring a degree.
Through our partner network, we provide candidates with on-the-job training alongside structured learning at TAFE. This year, we plan to significantly scale the initiative to make a real dent in our supply shortage.
The employee experience equation
Retaining IT staff in a post-pandemic world will be top of mind for many businesses in 2022. COVID-19 has created a new breed of worker who’s more interested in flexibility and a family-friendly workplace, with streamlined processes for working anywhere, anytime.
Shaping a winning employee experience can help ensure greater loyalty, reduce turnover, and pay long-term dividends. Even better, a great employee experience has been shown to improve customer experience too.
Employers with a culture that supports hybrid and remote work and an ethos that focuses on outcomes versus time in the office will have the most success in attracting talent. Hybrid work is here to stay, and businesses need to look at how they integrate this model into their long-term plans.
At ServiceNow, we’ve invested heavily in reinventing our office space, creating more collaboration areas and including key amenities, such as a game room, barista-café, and gym. This helps our teams work more creatively while improving employee well-being.
Key areas for organizations to improve include work-life balance, training and development, and benefits. The Australian IT sector can only continue to grow if the industry and government step up to focus on employee development and skilling initiatives.
The approach must be multifaceted and include:
More partnerships between government, industry, and training providers
Faster, simpler immigration requirements
Broader pathways to enter the industry
Employee experiences that attract and retain workers for the long-term
The future of the industry—and its workforce—depend on it.
Find out how ServiceNow helps organizations improve the employee experience.
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