Government working to close the science and tech skills gap

It’s the headline that any savvy Australian will have seen time and time again – Australia is experiencing a technology and science skill drought. The government has made its intention to build this expertise clear, recognising the need to grow the workforce in order to combat the complex and changing challenges of today. A new initiative has shown that this commitment is stronger than ever, with the government renewing its focus to building on skills to fill vital jobs in the science and technology sectors.

Australian employers are struggling to recruit skilled workers in science and technology.Australian employers are struggling to recruit skilled workers in science and technology.

The cybernation coming up short

The Department of Employment’s Skill Shortage List reveals that employers across the technology and science industry are struggling to recruit for roles such as web developers, cybersecurity experts and agricultural scientists, particularly at a senior level. Without these specialists Australia will struggle to keep up with the pace of global tech innovation and scientific discovery.

According to Arthur Sinodinos, the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Turnbull government is pushing for greater education and training to build up this expertise in the current and future workforce

“We have a skills gap in technical specialist roles in Australia. Through the development of a strong STEM sector locally we can ensure our economy has the workers it needs for the future,” he said.

Cultivating science and technology skills will be vital for Australia’s future development.

Filling the gap from within Australian and beyond

Nevertheless, the struggle for skilled workers remains urgent enough that the government is taking a two-pronged approach to the problem by not only cultivating professionals to fill the gap, but looking farther afield when necessary. New visa reforms will help give science and technology employers more options and arm Australia with the professionals it needs to prosper.

“It’s important where possible our employers first look locally and train up local employees before considering other options. To help with this, we’re putting an obligation on ourselves as a Government and as a community to put more of a focus on training and providing the upgrading of skills of our own domestic workforce,’ said Minister Sinodinos.

“For employers looking for skilled IT workers today, where a shortage does exist, they’ll still be able to employ the best and brightest foreign workers. There are a number of IT occupations on the new skills lists – this will ensure that our IT companies are not disadvantaged while we prepare more Australians for careers in technology and ICT through our investment in STEM.”

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