New Report Reveals Opportunity to Skill the Nation – Digital Skills Catalyst for the Future of Work

New Report Reveals Opportunity to Skill the Nation – Digital Skills Catalyst for the Future of Work

The Future Skills Organisation (FSO) today launched the Growing Australia’s digital workforce, the final report of the Digital Skills Organisation (DSO). The report defines Australia’s current and future digital skill needs.

The report reveals the demand for digital skills in Australia has increased by 12 percent since 2016. Moreover, openings for work involving high-level digital skills – such as programmers and analysts – are expected to balloon by 47 percent in the five years to 2026 (over 420,000 additional digital expert workers).

Patrick Kidd CEO, said the insights from the DSO’s successful pilots will be transferred to, and expanded upon, by the new Jobs and Skills Council (JSC) as the Future Skills Organisation.

“The Digital Skills Organisation pilot program provided us with data and case studies that contributed to the analysis and findings in this report. Now as we transform to the Future Skills Organisation, as a Jobs and Skills Council, we can use these findings to inform our work across the Finance, Technology and Business sectors in Australia, while recognising digital skills sit right across the Australian economy,” Mr Kidd said.

While the report identifies nine opportunities to address the challenges that have restricted Australia’s digital skills pipeline, to re-imagine and re-design our collective approach to digital skilling. Four key insights are:

  1. Every person in the workforce now needs to have digital skills.
  2. A consistent approach to describing the digital skills needed across the economy is required. The report proposes describing the digital workforce as either digital expert workers (require specific skills as central functional skills, 7% of the workforce), digitally enabled workers (rely on digital skills to augment their functional skills, 43% of the workforce), or digitally informed workers (requiring digital literacy but not specific digital skills, remainder of the workforce).
  3. The training system must be able to cope with the rapid pace of change in the digital skills needed by job roles.
  4. More teachers and trainers are required who can deliver digital training across different qualifications.

The report also highlights that one in two VET graduates, or 50 percent, report that the skills they learnt are not relevant to their current job. If current trends persist, the report projects that Australia will have a shortage of nearly 370,000 digital workers in the next three years.

“The increase in demand for digital workers shows no signs of slowing, with relevant skills and experience desperately needed across Australia’s finance, technology and business sectors. This report underscores the importance of our expanded mission as the FSO,” Mr Kidd said.

Building on years of industry knowledge and collaboration as the DSO, the Future Skills Organisation has been tasked by the Australian Government, in consultation with the states and territories, with addressing Australia’s digital skills shortages and with future-proofing skills and training critical to advancing Australia’s economy and in particular the finance, technology, and business sectors.

“The future Australian workforce will require digital skills across every industry, and every job,” Mr Kidd said.

“The report provides us with the empirical evidence we need to champion digital skilling and reskilling across Australia. I believe that we can create a flexible, robust and innovative VET system that provides opportunities for all Australians to acquire the in-demand skills of tomorrow and to meet industry needs.”

“This data is critical as we begin our journey as the Future Skills Organisation and build on what we have learned as the Digital Skills Organisation. Digital skills are skills of the future, and we are committed to working with government, training providers, industry and unions to ensure Australia delivers world-class training for a prosperous economic future.” Mr Kidd said.

This is an exciting time for the future of skills, learning and training in Australia.