Budgeting for a skills shortage

Budgeting for a skills shortage

Summary: There is no technology skills crisis...yet, according to a senior government technology official.

TOPICS: CEBIT, Government AU

There is no technology skills crisis...yet, according to a senior government technology official.

At the CeBIT trade show in Sydney last week, I listened to a panel of cross-industry speakers discuss whether there was, in fact, a skills crisis in IT.

Industry bodies such as the Australian Computer Society and IT Pro Australia have already stated their positions on the issue -- in some cases more often than your writer can count, so it was refreshing to hear someone else cut to the chase.

Patrick Callioni, division manager at the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), was quick to cut down the crisis catchcry, but not so naive to think there could never be one.

"I would say we have no crisis," he told attendees, "but we do have some shortages and we're going to have worse shortages coming up."

Callioni's reasoning? The recent federal budget.

"In last Tuesday's budget, apart from tax cuts and superannuation changes, there were also announcements of about AU$2.7 billion worth of new ICT projects by government. That's a significant number," he said.

Just as importantly, these were not low-level projects, and would span a range of government agencies, he said. This meant strong technology skills would be in demand by government for some time yet.

"Excellent project managers, business analysts [and] contract managers to manage the various outsourced relationships are going to be in increasing demand in Canberra, and they're hard to get," he said.

Callioni may be speaking from a government perspective, but he raises the issue of whether there is in fact a crisis in either the public or private sector. What are your experiences with hiring, or your future skills projections for the industry?

Topics: CEBIT, Government AU

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  • Could it be that IT skills focus is different from past needs?

    Thanks for the look at skills that will be needed in an even greater supply. Gets you thinking... It seems to me that we are separating out these skills in ways that are less helpful... than teaching and development a combination of hard and soft skills which allow more problems solving ability as IT changes its demands. Could it be that the lack of problem solving skills we are teaching folks is now catching up to us -- because as IT demands change -- so must workers keep pace... What do you think?