Part 1: Industry Leaders On Attracting Tech Talent
There’s no denying the technology industry is expanding at a rapid rate
A recent report by the Tech Council of Australia found that tech jobs grew more than twice as fast as the average employment in the last decade. Furthermore, the report highlighted that the tech sector is equivalent to Australia’s third-biggest industry, just behind mining and banking. Currently, the space employs 861, 000 Australians and by 2025, it could reach 1 million people. With statistics like this, it’s clear that there’s never been a better – or more exciting – time to consider a career in the tech sector. In this three-part series, we speak with seven tech leaders to get their thoughts and insights on the industry, finding out what they’re looking for in future candidates.
1. Employment opportunities in the tech sector are growing at almost twice the average rate of job growth across other sectors, with tech sector jobs growing 66% between 2005 and 2021 compared to the average growth rate of 35%
Why do you think tech is such a popular industry to work in right now?
Harry Nakichbandi, Chief Information Officer, Eclipx: “Technology has become a central part of any business and function, and it’s an essential part of any individuals’ life. The basic DNA of improvement these days is directly linked to leveraging technology, hence why it’s become so popular. I believe it’s only the beginning.”
Jane Cronin, Director, Digital Innovation and Cloud Engineering: “You are at the forefront of solving some of the most complex problems in the world. Tech is so interwoven in our daily lives that to work in an industry where technology really enables everything – increasing efficiencies, safety, regulation, cyber security, and daily conveniences – the pace of innovation is next to none, allowing for diverse career opportunities.”
Helen Harms, General Manager Cloud & Operations, Metcash: “Tech covers many domains so it’s a great way to get a deep understanding of how businesses operate, and more broadly, the industry in which they exist. It’s also a pathway to many other career opportunities.”
Emma Caruso, Technology Manager, and Coach: “People are seeing where the digital age and technology is going in the future. Even over the last 12 months to five years, technology has changed so much, and I think people are keen to get into it to see what’s next and where it’s going.”
Sue Steel, Chief People & Culture Officer, BizPay: “Technology drives businesses. With recent maturity in AI, Blockchain, and software, good technology can deliver much more benefits to businesses, their customers, and internal processes. I love working for organisations that have a purpose and solve a problem, and a lot of what the tech industry is doing is around that.”
Ray O’Sullivan, Chief Revenue Officer, Claxon: “Technology underpins almost every experience we have. Its transformative and creative potential is boundless and we’re seeing the industry spread its wings, attracting a more diverse and passionate candidate over the last two decades. The mandatory nature of technology for business and government has seen it become one of the core boardroom agendas and has seen salaries and benefits rise as a result. This will continue as almost all processes, experiences, and services are digitised.”
Sarah Simpson, Head of Product, Programmed Health: “With a huge and growing skills demand, it’s a great industry for people to find employment and security. As tech continues to grow, it's a future-proofed industry. The industry offers greater flexibility, meaning people can work from wherever they want, and when it suits them.”
2. 1 in 16 Australians are currently employed in the tech space. When you’re hiring, what are three key things you’re looking for?
Jane: “Attitude, empathy, and adaptability.”
Helen: “Alignment with the company’s culture, drive to learn and adapt (i.e. how has the candidate stepped outside of their area of expertise to solve problems and align to an organisation’s growth initiatives), and leadership potential.”
Harry: “Cultural fitness, business acumen, and technical skillset.”
Emma: “The personality combined with the values of the person; seeing that someone likes to be a team member as well as someone who’s passionate about learning, growing and being challenged.”
Sue: “Passion and motivation, problem-solving and relevant skill sets.”
Ray: “Authenticity, collaboration, and a brave, innovative outlook.”
Sarah: “Culture fit, willingness to learn and grow, and the ability – currently or in the future – to fulfill the role.”
3. What is your company doing to ensure it attracts the best talent?
Sarah: “We have a really strong employee proposition, which includes a strong team culture, a clear role, and a clear success path for that role. Plus, making sure they have the time to learn.”
Emma: “It’s all about opportunities: job opportunities, leadership as well as having career development for the future. It’s not just the here and now role but what other opportunities are there.”
Helen: “Staying true to the company's purpose, led by example from the executive team and board. We also reward and recognise the efforts of our team, particularly through challenging times such as COVID.”
Harry: “We’re adopting the most innovative technologies as all of our priorities are led by customer's voice. Yearly, we run several hackathons and innovation programs to increase engagement, making the environment a fun and rewarding one for staff. Diversity and inclusivity are extremely high on the agenda, with Eclipx a leader for Board gender diversity in the ASX300.”
Sue: “We always love to hire people who align with our company culture and values. That’s why we encourage all staff to refer people from their own network. We have a very flexible technical interview process, loads of life perks – including a ‘pawternity policy’ which we just introduced – and we’re not a 9-5 organisation. We’re not about watching the clock but watching performance and outcomes.”
Jane: “In the Consulting industry, people are motivated by the work they get to do and the clients they get to work with. Delivering projects at the intersection of human and digital, and by focussing on what the technology enables, rather than the tech itself, allows you to work on some amazing projects. Couple great work with a great culture – and you’ve got an awesome company value proposition right there!”
Ray: “Claxon’s culture is one of our most important selling points, to both clients and future team members. We prioritise learning and development, in-moment coaching and mentoring, and we invest in the best possible technology solutions needed to stay ahead.”