Part 2: Industry Leaders On Developing Tech Talent
A recent report by the Tech Council of Australia highlighted that the tech sector will employ 1 million people by 2025 or an additional 141, 000 working in the next five years.
That is if Australia can match that of Canada’s tech sector contribution (whose economy is similar to Australia). However, the report notes that there is a shortage of tech talent for businesses across the Australian economy.
The report highlighted that “maintaining the attractiveness of the tech sector as an employer and building pathways for Australians into tech roles, will ensure Australians can make the most of tech sector opportunities.”
By increasing the tech talent supply to meet the forecast shortage, it could contribute $3.6 billion to the economy per year.
In this three-part series, we spoke with seven tech leaders to get their thoughts and insights on the industry, discussing how talent can continue to develop their skills – within the workplace or on their own.
1. The tech sector is one of the biggest generators of jobs for a diverse range of skillsets. How can people keep their skills up to date to keep up with industry demand?
Sarah Simpson, Head of Product, Programmed Health: “There are so many ways to learn, whether it's from those around you to networking and mentoring. There are endless articles and books, as well as lots of different courses. The best advice I can give is to ensure you carve out time for reading or learning every single day.”
Ray O’Sullivan,Chief Revenue Officer, Claxon: “Self-learning, training and finding good mentors. Communication and discussion arms you with confidence, knowledge, and the ability to network – all are imperative to a long career in such a multi-faceted and constantly evolving industry.”
Jane Cronin, Director, Digital Innovation and Cloud Engineering: “Be curious – there is so much to learn! Not everyone has to learn to code, but many people need to understand and manage artificial intelligence, data analytics, autonomous vehicles, and other technologies we can't yet predict — those emerging now and those that will be created in the future.”
Harry Nakichbandi, Chief Information Officer, Eclipx: “I believe the key to people staying relevant is by self-led exploration to stay on top of trends specific to their area of expertise. This involves experimenting and piloting new technologies as well as working with their teams and employers on good development plans that focus on assisting them to grow their skillset and progress their careers.”
Helen Harms, General Manager Cloud & Operations, Metcash: “Put your hand up to get involved in a new project or initiative, get out of the office and see how your business operates in the field (and the innovation within its industry), seek out online short courses, and join forums and user groups aligned to your technical domain.”
Emma Caruso, Technology Manager, and Coach: “There are a lot of free training courses online but it’s important that the person does want to upskill. Sometimes, we don’t know what skills are needed until we give something a go so that’s why training, secondments, and embracing opportunities are important.”
Sue Steel, Chief People & Culture Officer, BizPay: “Join webinars and virtual meetups in your interested areas. Participate in open-source projects and share information with others, as well as subscribing and reading online. It’s about finding ways to increase your knowledge base and enhance your skill set.”
2. With the industry rapidly evolving, what is your company doing to continue skillset growth amongst your employees?
Jane: “We’ve recently upskilled over 2.7 million of our employees globally, giving everyone the opportunity to gain the knowledge, tools, and ability to use ever-changing technologies in the workplace and their daily lives. It’s pretty amazing to learn together with your colleagues in this way.”
Sue: “We have pre-approved training budgets for all BizPayers. We also partner with some great companies to enable dev-to-dev communication and learning.”
Harry: “We take employee career development very seriously. Our staff have career development plans where we work with them to further accelerate their skills and develop their careers. We invest in several training programs and where relevant, Eclipx sponsors staff to do further academic studies. We also invest in the latest and best tools to continue employee development.”
Helen: “We’ve leveraged partner organisations who have expertise in the skillset and who have already invested heavily in learning and experimentation. We encourage Metcash team members to take charge of their own learning and development, and we support them in doing this through formal training and collaboration.”
Emma: “There’s a lot of training and mentoring. This means coming up with a training plan for each individual team member and seeing what opportunities we think we could give them. We tailor this plan for each individual and give them that support. There’s also a lot of online training.”
Ray: “We start by identifying the destination and aligning specific training strategies to get us there. We continually explore who we are and how we will add value to our customer’s businesses in future. This allows us to identify what skills we need to develop and train and target the experience we need to plan for and recruit.”
Sarah: “I think it's important to have a clear succession path for your team, and a strong development plan that supports that growth. However, the most important thing you can do is create time for people to learn, and make sure you have an adequate budget for specialised training.”