The Northern Territory has seen steady growth in its local technology workforce over the last year, growing to over 4,300 new workers during 2020, according to ACS Digital Pulse 2021 report.

Although that was a modest 3.5 per cent growth, the NT is forecast to increase its ICT workforce by 5.4 per cent annually over the next five years – a figure that is in line with the national average.

Damien Charles, ACS NT Branch Chair, said the findings show there is more to be done to grow technology in the NT.

“Our first priority is to grow our own, and invest in Territorians,” he said.

“COVID has directly affected skilled migration into Australia, which means to meet the growing demands for skilled ICT professionals we need to focus on our VET and University sectors.

“We need to find new ways to help students bridge the gap between academic studies and the expectations and needs of business as they enter the industry.”

Charles echoed a recent speech from Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley who recently called for more women in STEM fields such as IT – especially as the national and local economies move toward greater technological adoption.

“Our focus also needs to include promotion of the ICT industry to women and working towards a more inclusive and welcoming profession and industry,” he said.

“The future of the Australian technology workforce will greatly rely on reskilling from other industries.

“Meanwhile, the lack of female participation could cost the economy $11bn over the next two decades unless we accelerate towards gender parity across the technology workforce.”