ACS kicked off its state-based roadshow for the Australia’s Digital Pulse 2017 report at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne this week. 

More than a hundred people turned up to hear special guest Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, the Hon Philip Dalidakis, discuss the report findings and what they mean for Victoria.

Dalidakis highlighted the importance of diversity in ICT, particularly attracting and retaining women.

“It isn’t about the men in the room, it is about the women who are not in the room,” Dalidakis said.

“It is about the work we have to do. Men can be part of the solution or stay part of the problem but they shouldn’t be fearful of it,” Minister Dalidakis said. 

The report commissioned by ACS in conjunction with Deloitte Access Economics (DAE) found only 28% of the Australian ICT sector is made up of women, a statistic that hasn’t changed in three years.

DAE Partner Brendan Devers discussed the importance of artificial intelligence and its impact on the future of work both overseas and in Australia. “Virtual reality is a thing of the past, AI is the future,” Devers said.

According to the report, a range of soft and hard skills is key for the future of the ICT sector.

DAE Economics Manager Sara Ma said that in order to sustain this digitally-led growth, we need to meet business’ demand for IT skills and digital workers in Australia.

“We are seeing a digital workforce boom happening across the nation. In the past couple of years, the number of ICT workers in Australia has grown from 600,000 in 2014 to 640,000 in 2016. Our forecast suggests that this boom is going to continue with an additional 81,000 workers expected to be demanded by Australian employers by 2022,” Ma said.

According to LinkedIn data in the report, employers are looking beyond the mere technical knowledge of ICT workers.

“The IT workers who are currently in demand are not just those who have core technical skills. Core skills are still important; however, what we are seeing in terms of employers, they want people who can integrate the core tech skills with broader business and enterprise skills to ensure the IT function can be more integrated. Skills such as strategy, project management and business analysis are in high demand in Australia," states the report.

The ACS' Australia's Digital Pulse 2017 roadshow will continue until mid-July 2017.