By 2026, Queensland is expected to have over 157,000 ICT workers, up from 111,500 this year.

That’s the key finding from ACS Australia's Digital Pulse 2021 report, launched last week in Brisbane by Queensland Minister for Digital Economy, the Hon. Leeanne Enoch, who announced a digital skills program for the state's workers at the event.

The 100 guests attending the launch heard the state is forecast to lead the nation in ICT workforce growth, with the sector projected to grow 5.9% per annum over the next five years, above the national prediction of 5.4%.

In announcing the Queensland figures earlier in the week, ACS President Ian Oppermann said, “the forecast strong growth of the Queensland technology workforce underscores the digital transformation of the state’s industries.

“The projected increases show how important that digital transformation will be to the economy in coming years and the importance of ensuring we have the right mix of technology skills to serve the needs of industry and society.”

At the event, the Minister launched the state’s Digital Professional Workforce Action Plan, an $8 million program to boost the number of Queenslander workers with digital skills.

The Queensland plan aims to boost the number of professionals supporting industry and help the state’s economic recovery and future prosperity.

The plan looks to draw more than half of the digitally skilled workforce from those already employed in supporting industries outside of the traditional ICT sector such as mining, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism.

“We want Queenslanders to be first in line for technology-intensive careers, which is an area where we know jobs will be needed in the future,” Ms Enoch said.

“Industry is forecasting that we will need tens of thousands more digital workers in our state by 2024, which is why we are focused on skilling Queenslanders so we can harness these opportunities.”

During the event, attendees discussed issues including boosting diversity in the ICT sector, improving the attractiveness of STEM subjects for school students and creating pathways for workers reskilling into the industry.