CIOs dissatisfied with the size of the IT talent pool produced by Australia’s education system


Tertiary educators are struggling to keep up with demand from Australian CIOs for qualified IT professionals, according to research commissioned by specialist recruiter Robert Half.

The survey of 160 CIOs and CTOs from companies across Australia found the education system is only able to satisfy 3% of technology leaders when it comes to their demands of the IT market.

Despite the fact that 19,000 additional jobs had been created in the IT sector in the twelve months preceding the study, undertaken between June to July 2017, eight in ten CIOs (82%) were finding it more challenging to find qualified IT professionals compared with five years ago. According to Robert Half, this highlights the important role of educational institutions both in terms of supplementing the influx of skilled IT staff into the employment market and upskilling existing staff.

CIOs identified IT security as the number one area requiring a greater focus from IT education providers (41%), followed by data/database management (34%), software/application development (32%) and systems administration and networking (29%).

Noting that companies are accelerating their use of new technologies, Andrew Morris, Director of Robert Half Australia said there is increasing concern amongst CIO that the current IT talent pool has not kept pace with market demand and skills that are required in the modern IT sector. 

Education systems and providers play a key role, not just to guarantee a continuous flow of skilled IT professionals into the employment market, but also to help upskill existing staff,” he said.

“With companies increasingly investing in training to develop the skills of their current IT workforce, it only further emphasises the key role that education providers play in helping to close the current and future skills gap.”

“Technology is changing continuously and rapidly which also implies the required IT skillsets are evolving continuously and rapidly. To keep up with the changing marketplace and to equip their students with the skills required in the workplace of the future, education providers need to ensure their STEM qualifications, courses and degrees evolve at a similar speed technology does.”

“While education institutions are of great importance, a comprehensive approach where education providers work alongside the wider business community and potentially supported by government initiatives is key in order to successfully tackle the talent shortage. A career in IT and technology needs to be ‘marketed’ and promoted as an attractive career path. You will never create change unless you explain to people why they should change.”