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Thursday, 18 January 2018 23:39

Education seen as key to meeting security skills demand, say CIOs Featured

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Education seen as key to meeting security skills demand, say CIOs Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cyber security is the functional area where it is the most difficult to source skilled job candidates for the IT sector, with chief information officers identifying security as the area most in need of focus by IT education providers.

According to a newly published survey from recruitment firm Robert Half, 41% of CIOs says security should be the number one priority for IT education providers.

Next on the CIO list of priorities for education providers was data/database management (34%), software/application development (32%), and systems administration and networking (29%).

The survey reveals that in 12 months, the IT sector has created nearly 19,000 additional jobs, representing an annual growth of 9.6% compared to 1.6% for the overall Australian employment market.

But, while employment in IT continues to boom, the recruitment firm says Australia is increasingly confronted with a shortage of staff in many IT functional areas.

In fact, the survey found that more than eight in 10 (82%) of Australian CIOs say it is more challenging to find qualified IT professionals compared to five years ago.

According to Robert Half, this highlights the importance of education as these institutions can help supplement the influx of skilled IT staff into the employment market, and also help upskill existing technology staff.

Andrew Morris, director of Robert Half Australia, says that as Australian companies accelerate their use of new technologies, “there’s increasing concern that the current IT talent pool has not kept pace with market demand and skills that are required in the modern IT sector”.

“Education systems and providers play a key role, not just to guarantee a continuous flow of skilled IT professionals into the employment market, but also to help upskill existing staff. With companies increasingly investing in training to develop the skills of their current IT workforce, it only further emphasises the key role that education providers play in helping to close the current and future skills gap.

“Technology is changing continuously and rapidly which also implies the required IT skillsets are evolving continuously and rapidly. To keep up with the changing marketplace and to equip their students with the skills required in the workplace of the future, education providers need to ensure their STEM qualifications, courses and degrees evolve at a similar speed technology does.”

Morris says that while education institutions are of great importance, “a comprehensive approach where education providers work alongside the wider business community and potentially supported by government initiatives is key in order to successfully tackle the talent shortage.

“A career in IT and technology needs to be ‘marketed’ and promoted as an attractive career path. You will never create change unless you explain to people why they should change.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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