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The Competition for Talent in Tech Heats up With no Signs of Slowing Down

Sean Finn from CTIA’s advisory board for tech and cyber security gives us an update on competition for talent in tech!

What is the data showing us?

The Australian Government Labour Market Information portal January 2022 update shows us that job vacancies are at the highest levels since 2009 in Tech, Trades and Professionals – and have risen 50% since this time last year.

There is a huge unmet demand for tech professionals both now and expected to continue through to 2025 and beyond.

How did we get here?

A Demand Spike has occurred with no sign of slowing down.

The biggest disruptive shift in the last two years is that most business is now conducted online rather than in person. Continual lockdowns have accelerated the adoption of tech and e-commerce, and it is the first time that more than half of all business to consumer interaction occurred online over the Internet.

All Australian businesses now need tech skills just to conduct the business basics. If businesses want to compete and thrive, even further tech skills are needed. Tech is now at the core of every Australian business.

A shortage of new talent on a number of fronts has occurred.

University and higher education training organisation placements within Australia are at a third of what they were before the Covid-19 Pandemic closed Australian borders to International Students. Graduates coming out of this talent pipeline are at an all-time low. New talent trained overseas and entering Australia to work slowed down to zero during the Pandemic. Likewise, national borders were closed internally making migration between states difficult. There are more jobs available than qualified people to fill them.

A perfect storm.

This incredible increase in demand for tech talent – almost overnight, combined with a sudden shortage of immediately available skills and reduction of these skills coming onto the market has led to an accelerating gap between workforce availability and demand. It will take time to catch up to meet this demand. There is a predicted shortage through to 2025 and beyond.

What does this mean for Employers seeking Talent?

An organisation has two primary sources of talent – they can hire those with the talent that they seek, or retain their existing talent and provide training to grow them into the roles that are scare and in demand.

Employers are actively seeking to recruit this new talent entering into the marketplace, as well as to attract existing talent to switch over from other firms.

This creates a two-pronged opportunity for employers – how do we retain our existing staff that already understand our values and mission and encourage them to stay with us, and how do we attract new talent – both those entering into the marketplace and

The answer lies in how attractive we are to new staff, and how attractive we are to our existing staff. Employers of today need to win new staff and actively fight to keep their existing staff. This is made more complex as our workplace cultures have shifted from primarily in the office to an almost equal balance of Workplace vs Work from Home in the tech sector.

What does this mean for those with talent or thinking of skilling up?

Talent of today has more options and greater choice. Those with appropriate tech talent are in demand by employers and have greater choice today than they have had in the past. Talent of today is more likely to be in a position to compare offers from multiple employers and evaluate the balance of work/life requirements, compensation packages and workplaces cultures to find a place that is their best fit.

Conditions are improving across the board. Employers are actively seeking to attract already employed talent to change employers in an arms race of conditions, culture and remuneration benefits – all seeking to be employers of choice.

There are also a widening variety of skills required – allowing talent to better investigate their areas of interest and personal satisfaction. Broad skills or T-Shaped individuals will continue to be in huge demand, with those possessing both soft skills and a wide range of tech skills being in the greatest demand. Further specialisation, training and skill acquisition will continue to make tech talent even more desirable and in a better position to negotiate.

There has never been a better time to be seeking employment.

Where does the common good lie?

It’s clear that organisations providing training to existing staff will help to both attract talent and retain staff by growing existing talent internally. Individuals seeking employment are better placed to compete for a widening array of jobs with a wider array of skills in their toolkit. Training is the key to closing this gap and increasing opportunities for business and individuals alike.

 
About Sean:

Sean joins CTIA as a business advisory board member and has deep experience in providing mission critical ICT in internet-facing ecommerce systems and operational technology systems for Mining, Defence and Aviation. Sean has acted as the final technical escalation point for incident response over a twenty-year period for these environments and has a deep passion for incident prevention. Sean is currently employed by Boeing in the Product Owner role for Secure Platforms and Classified Environments on the Wakulda program.

Sources for further reading:

https://lmip.gov.au/default.aspx?LMIP/GainInsights/SpecialTopicReports

Labour Market Information Portal: Data Visualisations

https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/occupation.and.industry.analysis

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