The so-called ‘digital boom’ is gaining traction in Australia with 40,000 technology jobs created in the last two years, according to The Australian Computer Society’s latest ‘Digital Pulse’ report.

Prepared by Deloitte Access Economics, the 2017 edition of the annual report shows that the strong growth in the ICT workforce is expected to continue, with an additional 81,000 jobs needed by 2022 to fuel future technology-led growth.

However, ACS president Anthony Wong said that meeting this demand will require significant co-ordination between various industry bodies, the corporate sector and policy makers.

To fast-track our nation’s digital transformation, and ensure the ICT skills base is there to meet demand, we need a clear strategy and dedicated investment focus in this area, Mr Wong said.

The report, to be released during the CeBIT conference, prescribes a ‘to-do’ list for government that includes multiplying digital precincts, preparing the education and galvanising the ongoing efforts at a state and federal level towards open data and digitisation.

Mr Wong said that equipping the education sector to create the workforce of the future was a critical requirement.

The ACS is actively championing the uptake of coding in schools, better support for teachers in the delivery of emerging technology areas, the establishment of multidisciplinary degrees, and relevant training programs to help to build a pipeline of workers with valuable ICT skills, he said.

He added that a better targeted skilled migration program had to be implemented to meet the needs of the economy.

It needs to be targeted, and needs to address the genuine skills gaps in the domestic market, while ensuring migrant workers are not exploited.

Deloitte Access Economics partner, John O’Mahony, said that the corporate sector was placing a high value on ICT skills and the appetite is only set to increase.

As business disruption becomes more widespread, businesses need a strong ICT core to manage change — making ICT workers and ICT skills the bread and butter behind that change.

The rising demand is evident in the latest data from LinkedIn, with the company’s director of public policy for Asia Pacific, Nick O’Donnell, saying that there was a marked acceleration in the skills shift expanding across every industry.

We are seeing significant hiring of tech talent by non-tech companies, he said.

Half of the top 20 industries hiring ICT workers in 2016 were non-tech, the most active industries being financial services, which jumped from twelfth position in 2015 to up to fourth in 2016.

He added that the top skills demanded by employers hiring new ICT workers included a balance of technical skills and broader business skills.

Business skills such as Relationship Management, Business Strategy and Strategic Planning in combination with technical skills are highly sought after to drive digitisation of business processes, Mr O’Donnell said.

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