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Monday, 2 April 2001
Page: 26230


Dr Theophanous asked the Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business, upon notice, on 1 March 2001:

(1) Is there a shortfall of a least 30 000 positions in the IT industry which are not being filled in Australia.

(2) Are a number of high technology Australian companies moving operations offshore because of this shortfall in qualified staff.

(3) Is the problem so serious that a special taskforce has been formed by employers in a desperate attempt to resolve this issue.

(4) What action is the Government taking to deal with this continuing crisis in the availability of qualified staff in the IT industry in Australia.


Mr Abbott (Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) I am aware that in August 1999 the Information Technology & Telecommunications (IT&T) Skills Task Force released the results of a national survey of the IT&T Industry, which estimated that during 1999-2000 the Industry would have approximately 30,000 positions to be filled by skilled IT&T employees. However, this did not purport to be an estimate of any shortfall in the filling of positions in the Industry. The Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business (DEWRSB), through its Skill Shortage Assessment activity, monitors skill shortages and has assessed that IT&T skill shortages are widespread but do not apply to all IT&T specialisations. A list of IT&T specialist skills (now generally referred to as Information Communications and Technology - ICT) that are in shortage has recently been published on the DEWRSB website and is attached.

(2) Information is not available regarding the numbers, if any, of Australian companies moving offshore because of ICT skill shortages.

(3) In 1998, through an industry initiative, an IT&T Skills Task Force was formed in response to industry concerns about IT&T shortages. Information about the IT&T Skills Task Force can be obtained from the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.

(4) The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs have announced initiatives to address shortages. Information about these initiatives can be obtained from those Ministers.

In regard to my portfolio, DEWRSB provides advice to the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) on skill shortages. DEWRSB works closely with DIMA in reviewing and implementing skilled migration policies and procedures and there are specific initiatives in the Migration Programme to facilitate the entry of skilled ICT workers, including considerable flexibility for temporary and permanent migration. DEWRSB also has many Labour Agreements covering ICT workers.

Australia's immigration arrangements for entry of ICT professionals are already highly streamlined. In 1999-2000 there was a gain of 8,000 ICT professionals. The Government has also announced further initiatives including:

using the contingency reserve allocation in the Migration Program to accommodate the rising demand to migrate from ICT professionals who have been trained in Australia. This will involve at least 2,500 places over and above the 76,000 places announced in the Migration Programme for 2000-2001;

from July 2001, successful Australian-educated overseas students with key skills, particularly ICT qualifications, can apply to obtain a visa for permanent residence under the Skilled-Independent and related categories without leaving Australia;

issuing a legally based Ministerial Direction to all immigration decision makers to give immediate processing priority to ICT professionals applying under the Temporary Business (Long Stay) visa and the Skilled Stream of the Migration Programme;

all ICT occupations will be recognised as 'key' positions, removing the need to test the labour market when looking to nominate an overseas worker for long-term temporary entry; and

ICT specialisations on the Migration Occupations in Demand List will be reviewed in consultation with the DEWRSB, the National Office for the Information Economy and with representatives from the ICT industry on a six monthly (rather than annual) basis to identify ICT specialist shortages.

SKILL SHORTAGES*—ICT SPECIALISATIONS (February 2001)

AUST

NSW

VIC

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

ACT

Database

DB2

D

D

Oracle

S

S

S

S

D

S

MS Access

D

D

Microsoft SQL Server

S

S

S

D

D

D

Sybase SQL Server

S

S

S

D

D

D

General Application Development/Software Engineering

PowerBuilder

S

S

S

D

D

Java

S

S

S

S

S

S

D

S

Java Script

S

S

S

S

S

S

C++

S

S

S

S

D

S

S

S

Delphi

S

D

S

D

D

D

S

Visual Basic

S

S

S

S

Lotus Notes

S

D

S

D

D

S

Progress

S

S

D

Powerhouse

D

S

D

Networking/LAN Administration

Novell Netware

D

D

D

TCP/IP

S

D

D

IPX

D

D

SNA

D

D

Microsoft NT Server

D

D

S

D

Ethernet

D

Advanced Web Design

S

S

S

S

S

D

Internet and Multimedia

HTML

S

D

ASP

S

S

D

D

S

S

D

D

Xml

S

S

D

S

S

D

Java Security and electronic commerce #

S

S

S

D

S

S

Graphics

D

D

Multimedia

D

D

D

S

Firewall/Internet security

S

S

S

D

S

D

Office/E-mail/Groupware

Groupwise

D

D

D

Lotus Notes

D

S

S

D

Microsoft Exchange

D

D

D

CC:Mail

D

D

D

Eudora

D

D

D

* S = Shortage D = Recruitment Difficulty # = programming skills, not business skills

AUST

NSW

VIC

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

ACT

Client/Server applications

COBOL

SAP

S

D

S

D

D

S

D

PeopleSoft

S

D

S

D

S

S

Siebel

S

S

D

D

S

System Software Support

Help desk

Data Warehousing

S

S

S

D

D

Operating Systems

Unix

S

S

S

S

D

D

D

Windows 2000

S

D

Windows NT

S

D

S

Solaris

S

S

D

S

D

S

D

Linux

S

S

S

D

D

HP-UX

S

D

D

D

D

VMS

S

D

S

Communications

Radio

D

D

D

D

SDH

D

D

D

WDM

D

D

D

GSM

D

D

D

CDMA

D

D

D

Broadband CDMA

D

D

D

Satellite design

D

D

TDMA

D

D

VSAT

D

D

Photonics

D

D

Process & Systems Management

Project Management

S

S

S

D

D

S

Systems analysis

S

S

D

D

D

S

Broad commercial business understanding

S

S

S

D

D

S

E-Commerce (eg business/financial management/analysis/customer service)

Overall e-commerce

S

S

S

D

D

S

S

Business analysts

S

Mainframe

Pick

D

ADSO

D

Adabas

D

Hogan

S

D

IDMS

D

* S = Shortage D = Recruitment Difficulty

AUST

NSW

VIC

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

ACT

Other Specialisations not listed above

Cisco

S

D

VB/COM

D

Messaging systems

D

Open TV

D

DVD

D

IT recruiters

D

Perl

D

D

OO technologies

D

D

Voice over IP

D

Optical

D

Flase

S

Tuxedo

D

WML for WAP

S

PHP

S

Technical Architect

D

C/Unix (Combined)

S

Games Programmers

D

Experienced Developers

D

DBA

D

Foxpro

D

Object Star

D

Ada

D

Fortran

D

Clipper

D

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

D

Univers

S

CRYSTAL

S

Testers

D

* S = Shortage D = Recruitment Difficulty

National Specialisations in Shortage

Database:

Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server,Sybase SQL Server.

General Application Development:

PowerBuilder, Java, JavaScript, C++, Delphi, Visual Basic.

Networking/Lan Administration:

Advanced Web Design.

Internet and Multimedia:

ASP, Xml, Java Security and electronic commerce, Firewall/Internet Security.

Client/Server applications:

SAP, Peoplesoft., Siebel.

System Software support:

Data Warehousing.

Operating Systems:

Unix, Windows NT, Solaris, Linux,

Process and Systems Management:

Project Management, Systems Analysis, Commercial Business understanding.

E-Commerce.