Technological advancements have revolutionised how we work, live and learn, making digital skills increasingly necessary across various roles and industries. Today, all workers are expected to be digitally informed, at a minimum.
Over the last five years, the workforce has transformed with rapid increases in demand for digital skills.
This trend shows no signs of slowing down. There is a projected 47 percent growth in the digital expert workforce (over 420,000 additional workers) in the five years to 2026.
There has also been increasing expectations of workers to be digitally enabled to perform their job functions effectively and efficiently.
However, Australia’s supply of digitally skilled workers by 2026 will fall short by 130,000 digital expert and 242,000 digitally enabled workers.
The three challenges facing Australia’s future digital workforce are:
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Industry consultation and collaboration
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Awareness and pathways
Relevance and transferability of skills
Improving training delivery
The Digital Skills Organisation (DSO) was established in 2020 by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR; formerly Department of Education, Skills and Employment) as one of three industry-led Skills Organisation Pilots, alongside Human Services and Mining.
Its establishment was as a result of the Australian Government’s ‘Strengthening Skills: Expert Review of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training System’ 2019 report. This recognised emerging evidence of a growing supply and demand gap for workers with digital skills, and system barriers to closing this gap.
DEWR described DSO’s remit to “shape the national training system, testing innovative solutions to ensure digital training meets the skills needs of employers and builds Australia’s digital workforce”.
The funding period was for three years to June 2023. Subsequently, the introduction of ten Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs) from June 2023 provides the opportunity to consider how learnings from the DSO trials can inform work priorities for the Finance, Technology and Business (FTB) JSC.
The DSO acknowledges the collaboration and input to the work of the DSO of the Tech Council of Australia (TCA), Australian Computer Society (ACS), Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), Digital Employment Forum (DEF), VET (Vocational Education and Training) peak associations, including the TAFE Working Group, the Australian Government departments and agencies, state and territory governments, training providers, community groups and schools. The DSO also acknowledges the range of organisations and individuals who have contributed to, or participated in, the trials undertaken as part of the DSO’s work.
This report is a contribution to fulfilling the DSO’s remit. Specifically, it seeks to:
The report draws on a range of quantitative and qualitative research and analytics inputs. This includes workforce and skills data insights, analysis of data from the training sector, insights from industry engagement, and evaluation of DSO trials.
Further information about the technical elements of the method is included in Appendix A.