Australia’s ICT Employers Too Reliant On Uni Degrees


By David Braue

Australian employers should stop insisting on a degree for every IT job. Photo: Shutterstock

Australian employers could resolve ICT skills shortages by winding back their expectations that candidates have university degrees, according to an extensive ACS analysis that found there are more jobs posted in ICT than any other profession except healthcare.

ICT job postings increased by 14 per cent between 2016 and 2021 and have outpaced the overall employment market by 15 per cent since the pandemic began, the newly published ACS Guide to IT Professions 2022 found, but many employers are limiting themselves by demanding that ICT workers have university qualifications.

Fully 97 per cent of ICT job postings in Australia stipulate that applicants have at least a bachelor’s degree, according the report – which is based on a Lightcast analysis of millions of job postings between 2016 and 2021 – but this is much higher than comparable economies like the UK (90 per cent) and US (86 per cent).

“Although globally ICT occupations traditionally require higher levels of education, the requirements in Australia are noticeably more stringent than the requirements for similar postings in the UK and US,” the report notes in reviving a long-simmering debate around the university sector’s dominance over ICT qualifications.

“Since skills and responsibilities across those occupations tend to be similar regardless of geography and in light of the global labour shortage, the analysis suggests that by loosening education requirements, employers of ICT occupations could open themselves up to a much larger potential workforce.”

Australian ICT job postings were also more likely to request three or more years’ experience than other occupation families, with just 21 per cent classified as ‘entry level’ – much lower than in the UK market, where entry-level ICT jobs comprise just under 35 per cent of all advertised roles.

The analysis explores demand in areas such as cyber security – in which job postings nearly doubled between 2016 and 2021, with more than twice as many cyber security roles in the ACT as nationally.


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