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Tuesday, 16 July 2019 19:08

Skilled migrants filling IT positions ‘a positive’ for Australian economy: report

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Skilled migrants have been an “overwhelming net positive” for the Australian economy and particularly sought after for filling skilled IT positions like developer programmers and ICT business analysts, according to a new report.

According to recruitment firm Robert Half, while public discourse often suggests that temporary skilled migration undercuts Australian jobs and conditions, a report from the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia, shows this is not the case.

Robert Half points to the CEDA report finding that 93% of Australian CIOs say they are willing to hire foreign talent, and the “Australian IT workforce accordingly supports CEDA’s finding”.

And Robert Half notes that as the tech skills gap deepens, it is estimated Australia will need an additional 200,000 tech workers in the next five years to avoid “falling further down the scale of international competitiveness”.

The CEDA report notes that many IT employers are facing increasing pressure to hire talent on the pathway to growth as almost nine in 10 (88%) CIOs respectively say it is more challenging to source qualified IT professionals compared to five years ago - and forecasts it will become increasingly challenging in the coming five years, Robert Half observes.

The recruitment firm says the CEDA report shows that employers and the government alike recognise the importance of meeting this talent demand, leading to the implementation of the Global Talent Scheme visa pilot program to help ease the skills shortage and the burden it presents to Australian businesses.

Robert Half also says the benefits of hiring foreign talent are apparent to the majority of IT leaders surveyed, with the top reasons why CIOs are willing to hire foreign talent being business expansion into international markets (39%), IT leaders needing access to diverse skillsets brought by international candidates (39%), international employees being less likely to leave (34%), the local talent pool not keeping up with demand for candidates (34%) and companies needing more candidates fluent in non-English languages (28%).

“Technology is recognised by most Australian business leaders as a key growth driver – especially when it comes to competing on the international stage, with more companies seeking top IT professionals who can implement new technologies and drive change,” says David Jones, senior managing director of Robert Half Asia Pacific.

“The CEDA report shows that international talent can play an immense role in helping to equip our IT industry with the skills that support business growth.

“The rapidly increasing demand for IT roles, such as cyber-security experts, ERP consultants and software developers, is exceeding supply in the local market which means companies should consider all staffing solutions available to them, including recruiting qualified IT professionals from overseas,” Jones said.

He said Australian businesses were already offering a diverse range of incentives to attract international talent.

These incentives, Jones observed, included lifestyle benefits such as the option to work from home, flexible work hours and on-site amenities (37%), relocation packages such as paying for international professionals to relocate to Australia (32%), professional development/training specific to their role (32%) and family benefits including education, healthcare, childcare (24%) and housing subsidies (24%).

“To successfully secure the best international candidates, companies must focus on offering meaningful incentives that will entice talent to relocate to Australian shores,” he ssaid.

“While incentives such as flexibility are an attractive perk, to remain competitive over the long term and attract the best international talent to our workforce, Australian organisations need to focus on developing compelling career path as part of a forward-thinking work environment that operates on a global scale."


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. 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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