Australia’s Tech Shortage | Finite

Written by Finite

What you need to know about Australia’s tech skills shortage

For years, Australia has been working hard to keep pace with the ever-changing technology industry.

In the past, many companies have relied on workers coming from overseas to fill roles, particularly those that require special skills or experience.

However, this trend started to change in 2017, when the Australian government made significant changes to the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List, which dictates the roles immigrants can have to obtain a work-related visa.

Now, as we enter 2022, the skills shortage has become far more dramatic. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 100,000 skilled migrants came to Australia for work every year, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Now, that number has shrunk drastically, to just 23,100 arrivals on temporary work skilled visas in 2020.

These changes have had a ripple effect for both workers and employers in the tech sector. Businesses that want to keep growing will have to change the way they recruit talent. Meanwhile, workers based in Australia have new opportunities that can accelerate their careers.

Here are our top tips for those looking to bring on new talent and individuals looking for their next career move within the tech sector.

 

Large and small tech companies are affected by the shortage

Australia’s tech shortage is being felt across the entire sector—and the big-name players in the industry may be feeling the brunt of it.

According to Business Insider, companies like Telstra have nearly 1,000 open roles right now. On the flip side, smaller startups like Culture AMP have over 100.

Once again, this is good news for those looking for work in the tech sector. With so many companies looking to fill roles, you’ll have more choice in the size and culture of the companies you apply for.

For businesses looking for talent, a big factor to consider remains salary compensation. Many of Australia’s most popular startups have the funding to offer competitive pay rates to their new hires. Larger companies that in the past have relied on their brand to attract new talent will either have to meet those competitive wages, or settle for less-skilled workers.

 

Expanding your limits on hiring and applying for jobs

If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of workers that make up Australia’s tech sector, you have reason to feel optimistic.

The skills shortage works in your favour—companies are eager to fill open positions, and they are willing to make compromises and policy changes that they wouldn’t have considered before.

This means that anyone applying for a job in the tech sector now should be willing to apply for roles that previously would have felt out of reach.

Business owners, on the other hand, will need to shift their mindset on who they are willing to hire. Requirements you’ve had in the past in regards to years of experience or specific required skills may have to be renegotiated.

You can also consider focusing on internal promotions to fill some of your more high-skilled roles, thus clearing the way for new hires to fill the vacancies that open up during this process.

 

Rethinking the traditional office

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a seismic impact on the way people work—and how they want to work in the future.

A recent study from PWC found that a mere 9% of survey respondents who are able to work remotely want to go back to a traditional office environment, and a full 72% said they want to work in a hybrid office going forward.

Now that remote work isn’t just a perk, but a viable option, employers need to keep these desires in mind. If you refuse to offer remote or hybrid working options to your employees—including new hires—it’s likely many candidates will rule you out of their job search.

Alternatively, companies that provide flexible options will have a greater candidate pool to choose from—particularly if you feature those options on your job postings and mention them during interviews. Ask potential candidates what sort of working environment they prefer, and if you are hoping to hire that candidate, do your best to offer them a role that aligns with their personal preferences.

 

Skills training taking centre stage

Hiring people who don’t have the skills required for the job can be a challenge, but there’s a simple way many companies overcome this—they build skills training into their hiring process.

When hiring, you’ll have a much easier time filling your vacancies if you’re willing to take on people who demonstrate competence and an eagerness to grow, and offer them the opportunity to learn new skills on the job or as part of the onboarding process.

You may be able to offer these trainings in-house, if you have experts already who can help their new colleagues upskill. Otherwise, you can offer to compensate your new hires for training sessions; this will not only ensure you have the right skills on your team, but you’ll also be attracting candidates who want to learn and improve their skills.

For those looking for jobs, there’s never been a better time to upskill on your own, particularly in areas of cybersecurity, data science, and data analytics. If you notice many of the jobs you are applying to require certain skills, consider investing in a training course or finding a mentor to support your growth. If you’re able to list these skills on your resume and mention them in interviews, you’ll easily stand out from others submitting applications for the same roles and show you’re serious about progressing your career.

When applying for jobs that require skills you don’t have, it never hurts to float the idea of on-the-job training during the interview process. Make sure your recruiter or hiring manager knows you are open to learning new skills specific to the role you’re applying for, and see if they’re willing to offer some compensation to help you get there.

Australia’s tech shortage is nothing new, and it looks like it’s set to last well into 2022 and beyond. Finite is here to help match candidates in the tech sector with the right roles and companies, even in the face of these shortages.

Contact your nearest Finite office for further information.

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