A transient workforce and greater education is needed if the Australian IT skills shortage is to ease, says one IT CEO.
CEO of the Australia and New Zealand division of NetApp, Peter O’Connor, spoke to CIO and shared his opinion around the skills shortage affecting the IT workforce.
O’Connor said the industry is constantly competing for the same resources.
“People are all competing for the same resources, whether that be general managers, in vendor land and even in the customer market itself. As a result, loyalty is no longer a big thing for staff members – if they can take more money then off they go,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor said while NetApp hasn’t been greatly affected by a skills shortage, the business has needed to maintain a positive staff culture to continue attracting new employees.
“We haven’t been in a skills shortage for a few years now because we put so much into resources around making NetApp a great place to work. You have to make your workplace a good one to work at because in this market, it’s necessary,” he said.
While O’Connor said he is no industry expert, he commented that more funding needs to be invested into ICT education and promotion.
“It comes down to promotion from educational institutions as well as government. The ICT people doing training in Australia might go back overseas if they’ve come here to study. If you look at the percentage of people that do ICT training here and end up staying here, it’s not enough to maintain staff levels in the industry.”
“In my opinion, there needs to be more money and investment in ICT education in Australia. The Australian market is the most advanced adopter of technologies. There are a lot of smart people in this country and unfortunately we don’t tap into that to make a real industry out of it,” he said.
Despite recent claims the GFC has been a major contributing factor to the recent skills shortage, O’Connor citied the transient nature of the IT industry as being a larger contributor.
“There are a lot of transient people moving from one company to another in recent times and it’s not doing anyone any good because one person will train a new person, they will leave, and people’s salaries are going up as a result. When they loose that person to another company, they’re loosing even more money,” he said.
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