Demand for digital skillsets are forcing employers to pay an average premium of nine per cent, or $7,700 per worker per year, according to new research from Deloitte.

The 2022 Ready, Set, Upskill report commissioned by RMIT Online quantified the value of digital skills and explored the so-called ‘great resignation’ that pundits expect to be a major shift in Australia’s workforce.

The $7,700 yearly premium on tech talent is down on Deloitte’s previous estimate of around $10,300 from the 2020 ACS Digital Pulse report.

Helen Souness, CEO of RMIT Online, said the struggle for employers looking to hire tech skills hasn’t abated, meaning people who have the training can command big pay packets.

“It’s no secret that employers across Australia are struggling to find great people with the right skills,” she said.

“In some industries, such as technology, big companies are raising salaries to attract talent and making it even harder for smaller businesses and startups to hire,” she said.

“We need to increase upskilling and open the borders to change this situation.”

The government yesterday announced that international borders will be open to all fully vaccinated travellers from 21 February.

But even with borders now open for workers, the Deloitte report warns that the impacts of closed international borders won’t be “a temporary setback” and that “reverting to pre-pandemic trends isn’t enough”.

Unsurprisingly for a report commissioned by an online university, the findings point toward upskilling the existing workforce as a salve to the tech talent shortage.

“Employers anticipate they will spend more on upskilling over the next year and employees value this investment, with many noting that it is a sign their employers want to invest in them, and they care about their development,” noted Deloitte Partner John O’Mahoney.

If you’re looking to pivot or re-train, machine learning and artificial intelligence skills continue to be in high demand with nearly 40 per cent of businesses surveyed saying they were lacking in these areas.

On average, 23 per cent of businesses said they were lacking in digital skills generally, and 21 per cent suspect their employees’ digital skills are out of date – figures that again point to the need for upskilling.

The 2022 Ready, Set, Upskill report also looked at how the ‘great resignation’ – a trend in the US in which people are resigning from their jobs en masse – is taking shape in Australia.

While the notion of the ‘great resignation’ reaching Australia has had its doubters, more than half of employees surveyed for the report said they “had taken steps in the last four weeks to change their current employment”.

This includes things like searching online for new jobs and getting their resume ready.

But according to the report, steps like merely “thinking about” leaving their job counted toward the 56 per cent figure mentioned.

Things that aren’t in the employee’s control such as “being approached by a recruiter” also count, so it’s not clear exactly how many of those “over half of employees” are really on the verge of resignation.

Either way, some employers are looking at the tea leaves in anticipation of staff walking out the door, with a third of businesses surveyed saying they expected six to 10 per cent of staff to resign in 2022.