Australian ICT graduates aren’t meeting industry standards with many needing “significant” extra on-the-job training to be effective employees, businesses have informed a recent survey from the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA).

When asked if the VET and higher education systems were producing ICT graduates that were able to immediately slot into jobs without any additional training, a meagre five per cent of respondents said “yes”.

A further 46 per cent said graduates required “additional training investment by employers” before being job-ready while a whopping 49 per cent said the tertiary graduates are not ready to work without “significant further training”.

“Innovative businesses and products are being held back, or worse still, sold overseas, because Australia doesn’t have the talent available to meet the demand,” AIIA CEO Ron Gauci said in a statement.

“No one measure will fix this, but a concerted push to upskill Australians will provide our nation with the capabilities to be a leading digital nation.”

The survey asked representatives from over 100 companies operating in Australia – most of which were small and medium businesses – their thoughts on the current state of ICT training and the industry more broadly.

In the 12 months since the survey was last run, the number of respondents saying graduates aren’t job ready has risen by 10 per cent and coincides with a slip in the number of staff employers expect to hire from within Australia.

Only 65 per cent of businesses said they expected to hire ICT staff primarily from Australia – down from 85 per cent in 2021 – with 34 per cent saying they would look to a mix of local and international tech talent.

Part of that shift will be due to the return of skilled migrants to our shores, but the AIIA report still points to a greater need for developing local technology talent.

It echoes the calls of other bodies representing groups in the digital technology sector like the Australian Computer Society (ACS) which has long advocated for a greater focus on building a local ICT workforce to fully leverage the digital economy.

Likewise, the newly formed Tech Council of Australia – which represents Australian arms of multi-national tech companies like AWS, Google, and Microsoft among others – has called for the workforce to be upskilled to meet demand for tech skills.

Last year, Information Age explored Australia’s ICT skills shortage and spoke to graduates who had paid to study in Australian universities only to find it difficult getting the extra experience industry demanded.