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MA Reports future IT skills shortages


Migration Alliance (MA) reports that Australian technology companies may move operations offshore if immigration rules are not made more flexible. (The following article is extracted from the Migration Alliance news story):

One of Australia’s biggest tech companies has warned that it will take its business offshore if immigration rules are not loosened to deal with the current shortages and allow foreign workers to come onshore more easily.

5,000,000 jobs as we know it could disappear in the next 15 years and be replaced by tech jobs. Warning of a severe technological skills shortage in the next 10 to 15 years due to technological advancements, CEDA’s CEO Stephen Martin says almost 40 per cent of Australian jobs that exist today (5 million) have a ‘high to moderate chance of disappearing” and being replaced by highly skilled tech jobs.

Computerisation and automation of work is advancing at an unprecedented rate and is likely to do so for the next 20 years, notes CEDA’s major research report for 2015: Australia’s future workforce? But Australia’s commitment to educating the workforce for this sector is ‘woeful’ says Prof. Martin.

“Our labour market will be fundamentally reshaped by the scope and breadth of technological change, and if we do not embrace massive economic reform and focus on incentivising innovation, we will simply be left behind in an increasingly competitive global marketplace,” said Prof. Martin.

He recently told The Sydney Morning Herald that, to deal with the current industry demand for highly skilled technology workers, the government needs expand the labour mobility program it now shares with New Zealand with other countries.

He said Australia has educated some of the best brains in Asia and should now be drawing them back to Australia to help the country cope with the skills shortage in the sector.

"Just as the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangements enabled free movement of workers and expanded the pool of skills available between Australia and New Zealand, Australia could benefit from actively seeking the free mobility of labour between other appropriate countries," Professor Martin said.

He said Singapore should be the first country that Australia explore a freer labour mobility deal with, given its close proximity and role as a regional hub.

REA Group chief executive Tracey Fellows warned that now there are not enough Australians available to maintain our online economy and immigration rules should be loosened to allow companies to import web workers.

REA is one of Australia’s biggest tech companies. Ms Fellows said that the current skills shortage is inhibiting the company’s growth: “One of the biggest challenges we face is access to skills. We are almost tapped out in being able to find the skilled resources that we need. And if we can't get the skills here in Australia … we will go to other places and do it there."

Migration Alliance is an industry body representing the migration profession. You can read the Migration Alliance article here 

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