Major skills shift underway in our economy: ACS

New report by Foundation for Young Australians examines requirements for workforce of the future.

A mix of enterprising skills and digital literacy skills are the most critical skills young Australians will need for the jobs of the future, according to the professional association for Australia’s ICT sector, ACS.

The association has also welcomed the release of a report by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) titled, The New Basics: 4.2 million job ads reveal the skills young people need for the new work order, which showed that a major skills shift is underway in our economy.

ACS president, Anthony Wong, said the FYA report reflects recent data that found ICT employers are increasingly demanding workers possess broader and more general skills.

He attributed a report released in March by the ACS and Deloitte Access Economics, Australia’s Digital Pulse 2016, which found for ICT specialists, six out of the top to skills now sought after are non-technical.

“Australia’s digital economy is expected to grow significantly over the coming years, fuelled by new waves of technological innovation that will disrupt many of our traditional sectors,” Wong mentioned.

“The FYA report analysed 4.2 million job advertisements between 2012 and 2015 and found digital skills, critical thinking, creativity and presentation skills are the top skills demanded by employers. This directly correlates to our own data that found that ICT employers are increasingly demanding workers possess broader and more general skills.”

Wong added that Australia’s Digital Pulse 2016 also showed that of the most popular 25 skills in Australia, the most sought-after are technology-related, as more mainstream organisations integrate technology into their core business.

“This is encouraging as it means many employees in the wider workforce already have the necessary skills to perform a variety of IT-related jobs.”

The ACS report also revealed the contribution of digital technologies to the Australian economy is forecast to grow to $139 billion in 2020, up from $79 billion in 2014, with demand for IT workers set to dramatically increase.

However, IT graduates currently represent only a per cent of new IT workers needed each year.

“The ACS backs the FYA’s call to action - Australia must take immediate action to ensure our youth are equipped to drive Australia’s economy forward.

“This includes reforms to the current education system, from primary school right through to tertiary education, further to this we must encourage better leaders and mentors our children, particularly for our girls, and we support and encourage collaborative research between business and universities,” he added.

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