Australian vendors, recruiters and government agencies arrived in London over the weekend armed with a growing list of IT specialists needed down under, as part of the federal government-hosted Australia Needs Skills expo.
According to an "in demand" occupations list issued by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, myriad computing specialists from network security administrators and SAP experts to Java programmers and Oracle specialists are needed to address Australia's skills shortage.
"These expos link Australian employment specialists including state and territory governments, regional bodies and businesses with skilled workers," said Senator Chris Evans, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, in a statement.
"Employer-sponsored migration is a high priority in a skilled migration stream which has economic benefits for everyone in Australia," he said, adding that nearly 25,000 British workers arrived in Australia between 2006 and 2007 through the skilled migration scheme.
Steve Rogers, director of ICT recruitment specialists Rusher Rogers, said that while British IT professionals' skill sets by no means surpass their Australian counterparts, they do bring a sense of "global experience".
"What they do have is that innate, first-hand knowledge of the way things are being done in other countries," said Rogers.
"The real question is how to entice them. There's better money in Europe but that needs to be balanced off against the level of disposable income afforded to them by living in Australia," he said.
Apart from favourable relative earnings, Rogers — himself an Englishman — said skilled IT workers from the UK were more likely to step into a better job than they left.
"If they’ve got any sense it would be the next step in their career development, that'd be something they'd be pushing for as well as the company, but there's vast competition out there," he said.