New Migration Strategy to Combat Australia’s Tech Skills Shortages

CANBERRA 11 December 2023 – The Tech Council of Australia (TCA) welcomes the Federal Government’s new Migration Strategy as a major reform that will make Australia a globally competitive destination for skilled workers.

The TCA supports the changes announced today by the Australia Government as they will make Australia more competitive at attracting more workers with global experience. That in turn will make local companies more globally successful, generating extra jobs and growth in Australia, and giving local workers a better training experience.

Ahead of the Jobs and Skills Summit, the TCA called for a new specialist skills pathway with faster and more certain processing time for temporary visas for skilled workers.

“We welcome the adoption of the TCA’s recommendation for a Specialist Skills pathway with reduced red tape, a path to permanent residency and a 7 day service standard for processing visa applications” said TCA CEO, Kate Pounder.

“Equivalent economies such as Canada and the UK already have 5 – 10 day service standards and much clearer paths to permanent residency. That has put Australia at a disadvantage globally in attracting top talent. With this change, Australia has confirmed we’re the equal of any nation for attracting skilled workers in high demand.” Ms Pounder said.

The changes in the migration strategy are critical to achieving the Australian Government and the tech sector’s shared goal of reaching 1.2 million tech workers by 2030.  Australia has concerning gaps in its tech workforce for highly-experienced, technically trained workers in areas such as cybersecurity, data science and software engineering. These shortages have built up over time because for decades Australia has created more tech jobs than tech graduates.

“Shortages of experienced tech workers can put Australia’s security and economy at risk”, Ms Pounder said.

“For example, a shortage of experienced cybersecurity professionals or Chief Information Officers can make it harder for businesses to protect against cyber attacks, which increased by 23% in the last year. A lack of experienced workers can also hamper the success and growth of local firms seeking to export, and make it harder to train and coach local workers.

“For homegrown companies looking to grow globally, it is vital to have someone in your team who has launched products and companies into other markets. That one person can train a team of 100 young Australians. They can teach a young advanced manufacturing firm how to set-up their factory and build a global supply chain, or a software team how to efficiently and safely build a global product. Their experience gives Aussie businesses an edge when taking on global competitors, meaning the company grows faster and more successfully.”

“However, while Australia punches above its weight in founding local tech companies that are globally successful, only 1% of Australia’s tech workforce has scale-up experience, compared to 17% in Singapore.”

“These changes will put Australia back in the global game when it comes attracting the best talent to our country.” Ms Pounder said.

Making Australia more attractive to top global talent will also benefit Australian workers. Research has found that experienced tech workers improve the productivity and long-term outcomes of their junior colleagues.

“We know that Australia has to reskill and upskill 300,000 Australians in tech jobs by 2030. We also have to train and employ 160,000 young Australians to enter the tech workforce. These Australians need access to experienced coaches to develop and support them in their or promoted roles.”

“Studies have shown that exposing a junior worker to experienced talent generates a 2.6% boost in their annual productivity” Ms Pounder said.

“The tech experts that come to Australia thanks to these reforms will help train and upskill existing workers, which will not only benefit their careers, but the economy as a whole” Ms Pounder said.

Through this Strategy, Government has also acknowledged the important role that start-ups play in the Australian economy by opening the accredited sponsor program to start-ups that have received backing from a venture capital fund.

“Start-ups are the engine room of an economy. However, they face the same recruitment challenges as other businesses across the economy, which is why TCA urged the Government to allow these firms to become accredited sponsoring employers.” Ms Pounder said.

“We are pleased to see this commitment from Minister O’Neil and the Albanese Government to make Australia an attractive destination for the skilled talent we need to support our growing tech sector.

“These changes will help Australia become a world-leader in cutting-edge technologies like quantum, clean energy, and AI.”

– ENDS –

For more information:

Sofia Polak, Akin Agency
0434 275 449

About the Tech Council of Australia

The Tech Council of Australia is the peak industry body for Australia’s tech sector. Providing a trusted voice for Australia’s technology industry, with over 160 members, the Tech Council comprises the full spectrum of tech companies.

We aim to advise and engage with Australian governments, businesses, and the wider community to help support the ongoing creation, development, and adoption of technology across industries.

Our vision is for a prosperous Australia that thrives by harnessing the power of technology.


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