A mere one per cent of young Australians are choosing the tech industry for their careers, despite most worrying that automation will take away jobs.

This is according to a survey commissioned by job site Indeed of more than 2,400 young Australians aged between 16 and 23.

Indeed’s Insights Strategist, Jay Munro, told Information Age that if young Australians simply don’t consider tech work for their future, importing tech workers from overseas will continue to be a necessity – but there could be a different way of inspiring the next generation about working in IT.

Enter: start-ups

“At the moment there’s all these new jobs coming onto the market with strange and wonderful titles, and whole new businesses we haven’t seen before,” Munro said.

“There’s a buzz about them and they have ability to look really exciting and inspirational.

“Then you look at the traditional job of, say, a software developer and it does lack that element of inspiration or excitement.”

Media attention is part of the puzzle, but it is complemented by the sense that these companies – and the people who found or work for them – have the potential to change the world.

“We see success stories in businesses like Atlassian and Canva and it’s inspirational to know you can go out and build something amazing,” Munro said.

“They solve problems that we experience in everyday life, as well as commercial problems.

“But there are also some companies that are solving social and environment problems which a lot of students are really interested in now.

“They want to feel like they’re giving back or contributing to the community in some way.”

Corporate responsibility

Beyond the start-up ecosystem, there is another way to entice young Australians into tech work.

According to the Indeed survey, young people living in or around capital cities still aspire to white collar work like law, advertising and media, and business.

Simultaneously, the digital uptake in white collar industries is changing the landscape.

“With banks, for example, we see a lot of advertising saying, ‘our new app does all this stuff’,” Munro said.

“That can be inspiring to see innovation in large organisations.

“So ideally they could be linking that sense of innovation in a way that gets young people interested in tech roles.

“I think corporate Australia has a responsibility to start to identify potential or upcoming shortages.

"They should be asking questions like ‘how do we take what the drivers or interests of new entrants to our workforce are and marry that to what we need them to think about in terms of their career?'"