A new report by the professional association for Australia’s tech sector has analysed millions of online job postings since 2016 to find the jobs most in-demand in the country.

The ACS report found tech jobs recorded the second highest growth in Australia in the last five years at 14 per cent, second only to healthcare (21 per cent).

Software developer / engineers top the list with 31,725 job postings in 2021 alone, almost twice the number of postings as the second largest occupation, which is computer systems engineer/ architect. This is followed by data analysts, operations analysts, computer support specialists, and systems analyst.

Other notable occupations in the top 20 tech jobs in-demand in Australia include IT project manager, cybersecurity analyst, UI/UX developer, technology consultant, and computer programmer.  

Database architect, data warehousing specialist, and data scientist are leading the pack as the fastest growing tech occupations, recording over 100 per cent growth in the past five years.

Other key findings are that most IT roles are located in NSW, Victoria, and Canberra, indicating an uneven distribution of tech jobs around the country. Additionally, there’s growing emphasis on soft skills like communication and teamwork as much as technical skills.

“The Guide to the IT Professions report highlights the great opportunities in the technology sector and just how strong the competition for talent now is,” said ACS Vice-President, Jo Dalvean.

“For employers, the report shows how important it is to establish alternative pathways into the industry beyond IT related degrees. Some of the sector’s best talent doesn’t come through traditional career progression.”

Ms Dalvean added, “For technology students and workers, the report also shows the potential in emerging technologies. Regardless of what you’re currently studying or the field you’re qualified in, there are great career opportunities in the coming years.”

Big salaries

Unsurprisingly, occupations in this sector are particularly high paid, well above the national average salary of $72,000.

ICT managers command the highest salary at nearly $180,000, well over 200 per cent of the national average.

The report found the average salary for a software and applications programmer stands at around $117,000 while multimedia specialists and web developers pocket around $96,000 annually. The only occupation not above the national average is ICT support technicians at around $71,000.

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Source: Patrick Amoy on Unsplash

Most requested skills

While employers are increasingly demanding soft skills like communication, problem-solving, and collaboration, the most requested specialist skill in tech remains SQL (16 per cent) followed by Java (12 per cent) and DevOps (12 per cent). Other specialised skills in demand are Python (10 per cent), technical support (8 per cent), and Linux (7 per cent).

The report also found several of the fastest growing skills in tech right now relate to cloud computing and storage, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

Interestingly, employer demands in Australia rank higher than overseas counterparts as 97 per cent of ads in Australia required tertiary qualifications. In comparison, employers in the UK requested a Bachelor’s degree or higher in 90 per cent of postings and 86 per cent in the US.

Industry analysis

At over 26 per cent, the largest share of IT roles are found within the professional, scientific, and technical services industry.

The second largest industry is public administration and safety (17.3 per cent) and financial and insurance services (13.1 per cent).

Cybersecurity continues to grow in importance. In 2021, there were almost twice as many cybersecurity postings as there were five years prior. The top employers for these roles remain governments and government agencies along with consulting firms (such as Deloitte and Accenture), banks (Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Macquarie Group) in the top 10 list.

Click here for the full report.

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While the Great Resignation has slowed down, businesses are still battling tooth and nail to find and retain employees.

Most of those who moved jobs in the past year still consider another change. Numerous analysts predict that high employee turnover rates will continue until 2022 and possibly longer. Meanwhile, hiring demands are causing many firms to over-promote or over-compensate new workers when the skills scarcity is already making things difficult for small businesses, according to a survey published by RMIT Online today

Due to market competition and high applicant expectations in the previous year, nearly half of Australian managers (46 per cent) said their companies had to overpay for new workers. The same percentage (40 per cent) also claims that those hired lack the knowledge or expertise required for the new positions. Additionally, according to the research, 35 per cent of managers and a quarter of non-managers, new employees receive the highest pay for their roles, leading to conflict inside the organisation.

According to the report, 34 per cent of managers who switched companies in the last year are worried that they lack the necessary abilities. They are so concerned that just months into their new employment, 37 per cent of them are actively seeking another one. 

Managers and staff frequently transition into new positions even when they are ill-prepared for them. According to the research, the majority of dissatisfied employees (57 per cent) don’t feel valued by their employers, and a half (51 per cent) think their pay is insufficient for their position or level of responsibility.

Rising inflation is also contributing to increasing career moves. Over 85 per cent of those surveyed say a  higher cost of living makes financial compensation more critical now than a year ago, increasing the likelihood of moving for a better paycheck. 

The research reveals that over a third of workers changed jobs in the past year for better pay. Of those, 61 per cent did so for less than $10,000 a year, and 28 per cent for less than $5,000. “A tight job market means many companies are more open to fast-tracking careers or hiring professionals with fewer years of experience,” says Claire Hopkins, RMIT Online Interim CEO. 

“This is not necessarily a problem and can positively contribute to finding and promoting great talent. However, businesses must complement this with support and training to ensure new employees have what is needed to succeed.”

The CEO adds that leaders have to understand the issue better to support new hires and avoid creating attrition within the current employees. 

“The talent shortage means retaining team members is critical. Companies must ensure they are actively putting strategies together to prioritise their employer value proposition through remuneration or providing on-the-job or formal training opportunities to help staff realise their potential.” 

Business organisations have commented on the effects of the severe skills shortages that impede the Australian economy since the National Skills Commission released its most recent Skills Priority List earlier. 

For example, a major skills gap in the technology industry will necessitate nearly tripling our tech workforce by 2030 to fuel economic growth and keep Australia on the cutting edge. According to Karin Verspoor, Executive Dean School of Computing Technologies, an additional 650,000 IT employees will be required in Australia alone by the end of the decade, and this demand will continue to expand significantly.

The Skills Priority List (SPL) provides a detailed overview of Australia’s skills shortages, both nationally and by state and territory, as well as expected demand for specific occupations. It was determined that there are currently 286 open positions, up from 153 in the same period in 2021. Scaffolders, technicians and craftspeople, miners, and landscape gardeners were among the country’s low supply.

Time to upskill the workforce

Addressing these shortages will take more than boosting short-term migration, said ACS Chief Executive Officer Chris Vein: “Every country is facing these job shortage issues, and Australia is in a competition with every developed country to attract skilled workers. Simply making more visa slots available is part of the solution, but much more is needed.

“One of the quickest ways of addressing our skills shortage is harnessing our national assets, particularly Australia’s educated, flexible and diverse workforce, through upskilling workers and boosting the industry’s diversity.

“Ahead of the last Federal election, ACS called for increased funding for reskilling, diversity programs, and support for workers and employers looking to boost their digital skills.

“We’re delighted the Albanese government has adopted some of these measures, such as offering more free TAFE places and reviewing the diversity of industry support programs. We look forward to furthering positive moves in the upcoming Federal budget.”

Mr Vein also pointed out that the IT skills shortage is a national issue affecting all industries and regions and not just the capital cities’ tech sectors, saying: “These jobs on this list are not just in technology companies but across all business and communities. IT is essential for agriculture, resources and tourism industries, and all parts of Australia must have enough technology workers to keep their local economies running.”

To learn more, visit https://online.rmit.edu.au/insights/2022-oct.

ALSO READ: Crippling shortages’: business groups respond to Australia’s latest Skills Priority List

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Recalling that she was “always trying to scheme up ideas for businesses” as a young girl, one of entrepreneur Jacqui Bull’s first successful ventures was a dog walking business.

Decades on, she’s the co-founder of Australia’s and New Zealand’s largest online staffing platform, reinventing casual and temporary staffing in industries like aged care, retail, hospitality, promotions, warehousing, and events.

Some of Sidekicker’s big-name clients include influential industry leaders like AusPost, Crown, and AirBnB.

“We came up with Sidekicker from the premise of empowering people to choose where they work, what they want to do, and how much control they can get over their work,” Jacqui said.

“Our product solves staffing problems while adding a lot of value to our customers. We found that competitors or incumbent providers in Australia weren’t innovating or adapting their business model in line with what we were seeing globally.”

Since launching in 2013, Sidekicker has provided work opportunities to over 40,000 casual workers at more than 5,000 organisations. They estimate placing an average of 2,500 ‘Sidekicks’ into jobs per week.

Most recently, Sidekicker secured $20 million in funding from SEEK investments to accelerate expansion across Australia and Zealand, and toward platform upgrades.

“I’d definitely credit our obsessive focus on being the best place for workers to get jobs,” she grinned. “We’re focused on being the best place to get the best rates, with quick response times.”

Why Sidekicker works

Jacqui first met Sidekicker co-founder Thomas Amos while completing her degree in accounting and marketing at Monash University. While her curiosity was piqued then by presentations around entrepreneurship in the tech sector, she chose the more traditional path of a grad role in accounting at Deloitte.

She decided it was time to take the plunge into the tech space when the idea for Sidekicker came about.

Jacqui elaborated, “I didn’t have a background in tech so there was a lot to learn! My naïve understanding as a 22-year-old was that you go to a development agency, you build a product and take it to market, and the rest is sales and marketing.  A decade later, I learned my lesson that tech and development remain an ongoing process.”

Sidekicker’s technology disrupts the traditional recruitment model by providing a platform for Sidekicks to access casual work as and when they choose. It also provides a two-way rating and review system for businesses, which drives the reliability and accountability of staff.

Sidekicker co-founders Jacqui Bull and Thomas Amos. Source: supplied

However, as Jacqui candidly admits, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.

“One of our biggest mistakes at first was launching into cities too quickly. We launched in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne as opposed to really focusing on building a hyperlocal marketplace first. We’ve had to relaunch in Brisbane a couple of times now,” she said.

“We also tried out a number of different industries, such as cleaning, but those roles can be very subjective. The idea of cleanliness really differs from person to person, so finding the right person for these roles was really labour intensive and time consuming.”

Instead, they decided to pick a handful industries they could service well.

“In terms of staffing, there are certain roles that can be objectively assessed, for example aged care where there’s a huge demand for workers and certain qualifications to be met. We realised we could really work in this market by attracting workers with a wealth of experience who are looking for the best rates.”

As an entrepreneur, one of her happiest milestones was the realisation that they truly had a good, successful product.

“It was a really special moment when we got our first seed investment and the investors could really see that we were disrupting and innovating the staffing market,” Jacqui smiled.

“Now as we get bigger, it’s a mark of pride to see our team living and breathing the values of Sidekicker. Seeing them understanding what we’re trying to build and being as passionate about the business.”

READ MORE: Conquering adversity: Female leaders reflect on resilience in the face of overwhelming odds

The team at Sidekicker. Source: supplied

The importance of representation

As a woman in the tech space, Jacqui is often asked if she’s had to ‘prove’ herself to male counterparts.

“There are a lot of statistics that show that women are underrepresented in this space and underinvested from a VC perspective,” she agreed. “For me personally, I do like to put pressure on myself to ensure I’m treated with the same level of respect and authority as my counterparts, which I don’t think you have to do as a male.

“At Sidekicker, we’re lucky to have built a very diverse business and leadership team. I work with incredibly talented men and women every day. And importantly, having that kind of representation attracts more women to the business. Our heads of engineering and product are women – unheard of in the tech sector – and this helps us attract more women to the tech industry.”

The best advice received

Ultimately, she breaks down the best advice she received to ‘knowing where you can add the most value and doubling down on that.’

Jacqui explained, “In business, it can be tempting to try to meet every demand and broaden your scope. When you’ve got a creative mindset, it’s easy to think ‘this will work’ or ‘this person will love this and this’. But it’s a lot of work to get a product up and running in the market and you can end up stretching yourself too thin. It’s a skill to know when to say no.”

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READ MORE: Founder Friday with Liz Agresta: the secrets to building a $15m beauty empire 

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In a COVID-impacted world where video communication is the new norm, Vpply is connecting job seekers with companies through a unique video-based job application experience that minimises the need for lengthy CVs and cover letters.

Vpply is a video job platform that allows job seekers to record and upload short videos, providing applicants with the chance to showcase character and people skills.

“The application process starts with a simple job search with filters which will take you to a list of job opportunities on Vpply,” CEO and co-founder Tom Lipczynski told Dynamic Business.

“From there, jobseekers can browse and select jobs they wish to apply for and simply record or upload a pre-recorded video introducing themselves and their interest in the job application.

“After reviewing their application, they can add in their career history and ‘Vpply’ (apply with video).”

The company says employers will also benefit from Vpply’s technology by having a shortened recruitment process and more consistent scheduling of interviews.

It starts with a vision

Vpply co-founders Alex Perry, Tom Lipczynski and James Farrell | Image credit: Tom Lipczynski (supplied)

Co-founders Tom Lipczynski, James Farrell and Alex Perry launched Vpply in July 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic with a mission to decrease the mass unemployment being caused.

Tom, who has prior experience working with search giants Indeed and Adzuna, met Alex at a stockbroking firm in 2014. In 2019, James joined the duo and the three of them bonded over their shared business background and passion for video.

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The founders say the technology behind Vpply was spurred by a lack of human connection in job search and a growing demand for video-based technologies and applications such as Zoom and Google Meet.

Studies show that video now accounts for more than 80% of all online traffic and is 1,200% more likely to be shared online than text or images.

“The shift to video as an everyday tool is already here accelerated by the global pandemic,” Mr Lipczynski said.

“I see video as an important tool for the future and wanted it as the core of Vpply. I was also looking for a new challenge with an idea that is fresh and exciting.”

The sectors on board

In January 2021, Vpply listed more than 6,000 jobs in industries including hospitality, retail, administration, recruitment, sales and marketing and is currently expanding.

The platform gained over 2,000 unique users in January alone, most of them between 24-34 years old – an age group that Mr Lipczynski says “suffered the most” as a result of the recession.

Related: Women and young adults among those hit hardest by COVID-19, Queensland survey finds

Even though the overall unemployment rate in Australia dropped down to 6.4 per cent in January this year, it increased to 13.9 per cent for young people at the same time.

“In October, employment among Australian youth 15-24 was 4.4 per cent below its level in March and represents the largest drop of any age group,” Mr Lipczynski said.

“As the unemployment of Australian youth has been the most impacted during COVID-19, Vpply’s platform has been most adapted and used by these age groups, showing a demand for jobs and more innovative ways to apply.”

What about CVs and cover letters?

Mr Lipczynski says job search companies that use mostly traditional application methods “may employ wrong culture fit” due to the restrictive nature of CVs. Vpply’s aim, however, is not to eliminate CVs and cover letters but to have video application as the first step towards recruitment.

“Various jobseekers have worked very hard on their career history and have amazing CVs, so we do not want to take away from showcasing those achievements.

“It is however the same jobseekers that are finding it very hard to get a foot in the door, even to gain experience in unpaid internships, so Vpply is an option to try a different method to get hired.”

The company says it will work with various associations to provide fair solutions and experiences for job seekers and employers, but it is ultimately up to the hiring party to choose an individual based on their CV/video, video interview and/or face to face interview.

An ‘opportunity for innovation

For the Vpply team, 2021 is all about research and development. The company says its aim is to improve the jobseeker experience while finding new ways to scale and generate revenue streams – especially in areas like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

“We are sitting on a unique product in the market with the opportunity for innovation and using various forms of AI,” Mr Lipczynski said.

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Vpply currently integrates with Seek-owned JobAdder and is working with partners that will allow automatic postings in Australia and New Zealand.

“AI in video can pick up on so many pieces of information that cannot be gathered from CVs and this will be the new trend in the next few years – from simple cues such as lighting and length of application time,” Mr Lipczynski explained.

“Machine learning can be applied to tone, body language and various other points that Vpply will work with jobseekers to give them a larger chance of success in landing their dream job.”

Tom’s tips for a top video application

Mr Lipczynski says job seekers should be confident and willing to showcase their unique personalities while being mindful of factors such as lighting, audio and talking pace in their video applications.

“Although videos allow for greater creativity and range in applications, it is important for jobseekers to remember that they are part of a formal application process. Therefore, looking presentable and keeping videos at a considerable length – recommended 30 seconds to one minute – are all tips to filming a great application.

“The beauty of Vpply is that we allow retakes. However, the first take is often the best – so best not to overthink!”

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