Australia is crying out for good mobile developers – how can we plug this gap?

Australia not so innovative after all

Picture: Intel Free Press, Flickr

Picture: Intel Free Press, Flickr

According to research group, Telsyte, mobile commerce in Australia in 2015 totalled $5 billion, 22% of all e-commerce spending and a 16% rise on the previous year. Australian bank customers are among the world’s fastest adopters of mobile banking, according to consultancy Bain & Company, which in 2014 found that 38% of Australian customers’ interactions with their bank occurred via a smartphone or tablet.

9 in 10 of us have a smartphone and for millions of people, it’s like an extension of themselves. This area of tech is only going to grow as we as consumers look for more ways to use our smartphones and tablets to entertain, shop, network, bank, socialise and work at the touch of a button.

The opportunity for job creation here is immense. And it’s not just about gaming or social networking – numerous corporate organisations are looking for skilled developers to use their talent to create bespoke, intelligent user-friendly apps for both iOS and Android. Companies in Australia are crying out for skilled, innovative mobile developers but for myriad reasons this talent is proving challenging to unearth on a local level. We want to be able to fill these roles with Australian residents, but we have no choice but to look further afield. We are currently seeing a massive demand from cilents for these skills – including one of the major financial institutions in Australia.

There are thousands of skilled mobile developers in Europe and North America who could share their expertise and excel in roles in Australia. 55% of total mobile app start-ups in the country are located in Sydney, but Melbourne is also a renowned tech hub, with Brisbane and the other state capitals also creating opportunities.

We don’t need to sell the lifestyle of Australia to these talented app developers currently based in London, Manchester, Copenhagen or Calgary, but we do have our hands tied by current visa restrictions. Chances are, the talented individual who can hit the ground running within an Australian company will have to have accumulated several years of experience, and may well be over 30. Which is why I’m a huge champion of the current campaigns for the age limit to qualify for the Australia Working Holiday visa to be raised from 30 to 35. With this age range, we can attract skilled developers from France, Canada and the UK to name a few, who can spend their visit working in an industry they are skilled for and earn a decent wage to fund their travels.

Mobile developers in Australia can earn up to $110,000 a year and there are many opportunities at the moment for those with relevant experience. There is plenty more that can be done to attract Australians to the sector but in the short term there is an urgent need to plug the current gap. That’s why I’m calling for an extension of the age limit for migrant visas in order that we can attract the talent from overseas, and ensure Australia remains at the forefront of mobile technology, and is not left behind.

Gillian Kane, owner and managing director, Digital Gurus Sydney

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Gillian Kane

PC World
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