Industries across Australia will face a shortfall in IT skills in the coming decade as technology displaces the workforce.

According to modeling done by Oxford Economics and Cisco, and published in a report called Technology and the Future of Australian Jobs, technological transformation could displace around 630,000 workers – or 7 per cent of the workforce – by 2028.

As the global economy heads further toward digitisation, the report says Australia’s need for IT skills like ‘systems analysis’ and ‘systems evaluation’ could fall short of supply, while around half of new workers will lack ‘programming’ and ‘technology design’ skills.

“Our analysis suggests that the best available candidates would have to overcome a significant skills shortfall to meet the requirements of IT-related jobs,” the report said.

“On average, they are 57 per cent short of the programming skills requirements projected for 2028.”

The Oxford Economics modeling matches a narrative told by other reports this year.

ACS’ Australia’s Digital Pulse report claims that Australia will need 100,000 more tech workers by 2024 simply to keep up.

And the Data61 Artificial Intelligence Roadmap predicts that an economy well-supported by AI will need 161,000 AI specialists in the coming decade.

This latest future of work modeling also points to a deficit in STEM skills.

“For jobs requiring the complex cognitive skills of maths and science, employers will be drawing from a pool of labour that currently falls, respectively, 20 per cent and 30 per cent short of where it needs to be,” the report says.

“Such highly technical occupations will be in great demand in future and are at the heart of delivering the kind of technological progress that define our 2028 scenario.”

Considering how poorly Australia recently scored when comparing STEM education to the rest of the world, industry will struggle to fill those positions locally.

The report also warns that these skill deficits can’t be mitigated with short-term solutions.

“Some skills, such as mathematics, science and computer programming typically need long periods of formal study and experience,” the report says.

“That means a long lead time, expensive educational institutions and dedicated education policies.

“Others require softer skills, which might shift the impetus to short-courses, mobile learning, on-the-job training and better job matching.”

Compared to other ASEAN countries, however, Australia’s work outlook is much more positive.

Technology is expected to displace as much as 18 per cent of Vietnam’s workforce with Thai and Indonesian workers looking at a displacement of around 16 per cent.

Australia’s measure of 7 per cent is even lower than the US (8 per cent) but higher than the best-performing Singapore which has a projected displacement effect of 5 per cent.

Managing Director of Enterprise and Digital Transformation Office at Cisco Australia and New Zealand, Sam Gerner, remained optimistic about Australia’s future despite the predicted skills shortfall.

“Over the next 10 years, the pace of technological change will be highly disruptive to the world of work, yet has the potential to deliver great rewards,” Gerner said.