WiseTech Global, Cochlear, CSL, Rode Microphones, Freelancer, Atlassian– just a few of the world’s biggest tech companies. And they are all Australian. In recent years, Australia has carved a niche for itself in the hi-tech market. However, leading tech companies say that running the business is becoming increasingly difficult.
Richard White, CEO of WiseTech Global, says that they are running short of more than 200,000 skilled techies in Australia. A $10 billion company, it hires about 15 workers a month in its Sydney office alone. Mr. White says that they could easily double the hiring numbers provided they find qualified people to do so.
Peter Freedman, Founder of Rode Microphones faces the same issue as WiseTech Global. He says Australia does not have the kind of people that tech companies need. However, getting skilled workers from overseas is not easy due to visa restrictions and red–tape.
The top 5 companies in Australia are:
- The Commonwealth Bank
- Rio Tinto
Out of the above, only CSL can be considered as hi-tech.
In contrast, the top 5 companies in the US are:
Mr Richard White says that it is high time Australian parents and teachers focus on technology as a career. In the meanwhile, he is looking overseas to fill in the skill gaps.
The university sector in Australia also agrees that there is a shortfall of skilled techies in Australia.
The heads of all schools and universities teaching tech subjects come under the purview of the Australian Council of Deans for Information & Computer Technology. It said that currently 400,000 students are enrolled in the fields of information and computer technology. However, much more is needed, as quoted by ABC News.
The unemployment rate in Australia at present is 5.2%. This means that there are about 700,000 people who do not have a job. If the 200,000 vacant tech jobs could be filled by local people, the unemployment rate would plummet well below 4%.
Mr White says what Australia urgently needs are skilled, value-creating, qualified workers who can make a difference to the country.
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