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By Mousume Roy, APAC Reporter, HCL Technologies Ltd.


Australia has always faced unprecedented challenges in finding and retaining talent. Among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations, Australia’s shortage of labor and skills is second in severity only to Canada’s. Australian business leaders are grappling with a shrinking talent pool that the pandemic accelerated. The skill shortage has affected almost every sector, including technology, transportation, health care, food service, construction and real estate.

According to a Global Talent Crunch Survey, by 2030, it is expected that there will be a talent deficit of 85.2 million workers across global economies and nearly $8.5 trillion in unrealized revenue. Knowledge-intensive industries such as financial services, technology, media, telecommunications, and manufacturing are some of the industries predicted to be hit the hardest.

With technology steering us towards the fourth industrial revolution artificial intelligence, metaverse, digital algorithms, and other emerging technologies have moved into our workplaces changing the way businesses capture value. The impact of emerging technologies is likely to increase the demand tech-specific skillsets that are currently lacking. 

Michael Horton, Executive Vice President & Country Manager Australia & New Zealand at HCL Technologies said; “In today’s tight global talent market, Australia’s skills shortage severity can be measured in terms of huge revenue loss. Skilled workers are an increasingly valuable commodity, and the misalignment of skills in supply and demand is driving businesses to rethink—business risks, recruitment, and remedies.”

The top 5 Australian risks
Source: 2022 Global Risk Survey
Reason behind tech talent shortages

According to Deloitte, Australia faces skills shortages across a range of key areas and skills critical to the future of work. The average worker is missing nearly two of the 18 critical skills advertised for a job, equating to 23 million skills shortages across the economy​.

“This skills gap is significant, and it’s still growing. If we continue as we are, our national skills shortage will grow to 29 million by 2030, and far-and-away the bulk of those ‘missing skills’ will be those of the heart”, said David Rumbens, Deloitte Access Economics Partner, and Lead Report Author.

“Skills of the head and, increasingly, the heart are going to be in strong demand in the future, but we face significant under-supply now, and we forecast that this will only get worse,” added Rumbens.

Gartner predicts, for businesses, tech talent shortage is the biggest barrier due to the adoption of 64% of new technologies​. Some of the other factors of the talent shortage include:

  • The exit or retirement of Gen-X or Baby Boomers from their existing roles

  • Lack of skilled employees in new and innovative technologies

  • Lack of formal STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education

Widespread adoption of technology that  required every business or industry to hire tech professionals is another reason for the current talent shortage. Even non-tech companies began to hire tech talent locally to cater to the evolving digital commerce, which led to the ongoing talent shortage emerging technologies and their rapid adoption requiring skilled tech talent has added to the severity of the talent shortage. The United States could also lose out on $162 billion worth of revenue annually, unless it finds more high-tech workers.

According to an Enterprise Strategy Group's "2021 Technology Spending Intentions Survey“ securing environments against increasing cybersecurity threats has made some key skills such as cybersecurity, AI and ML, cloud architecture, and automation, among the most sought-after and hardest to find skillsets​.

In a January 2022 survey, National Federal for Independent Business (NFIB) reported businesses had difficulties finding qualified candidates, and 47% reported they had job openings they could not fill, far exceeding the 48 years historical average.

One million tech jobs

 Top emerging tech skillsets

  • 83% Cybersecurity

  • 65% Cloud computing

  • 50% AI, Automation & Robotics

  • 66% Digital transformation

  • 60% Big data analytics

  • 44% IoT

  Source: Randstad

The Technology Council of Australia (TCA) has unveiled an impressive roadmap to create One Million Tech jobs. Like the DSO, the roadmap emphasizes the importance of developing Australian talent and the need to improve digital skills.

According to the roadmap, Australia has a significant opportunity. Technology has become a critical part of the Australian economy, contributing AUD 167 billion (8.5%) to GDP per year and 861,000 jobs. The council is targeting to contribute AUD 250 billion by 2025 and employ one million people​.

To meet the tech skill shortage, more than 140,000 existing workers will need to be re-skilled from other roles, as well as new digital talent recruited​.

“It’s clear that Australian businesses are looking to take a more active role in solving the skills challenge. HCL Technologies is playing its part and helping develop more effective and targeted training programs. Reskilling and upskilling are critical in improving the skills of the workforce that support the advanced technologies, that are essential to competitiveness”, added Horton.

Rise at HCL Tech - Australia

HCL Tech’s RISE at HCL program in Australia is one such  initiative offering to further change the hiring landscape. Rise at HCL aims to help individuals come back from a career break, add new tech skills to their resume, or upskill the skills they already have.

Lara Higson, Vice President, HCL Technologies said: “Organizations are competing for key talent and skills. The upskilling and reskilling program like Rise at HCL grows the overall talent pool. The idea is to understand the opportunities with emerging technologies, engage educators to prioritize key skills, remove systemic barriers, and achieve greater diversity and inclusion.”