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Queensland tech workforce boom eclipses Australian average
Wed, 13th Mar 2024

The booming technology workforce in Queensland has been highlighted in the latest ACS Digital Pulse Report, recording an impressive 21% surge—more than three times the national average. This growth takes the number of Queenslanders employed in tech roles to over 139,000.

ACS Queensland Chair Mat Eames commented on the robust expansion, stating: "The rate Queensland’s tech workforce is growing illustrates how rapidly the state is developing and the importance of the technology sector in shaping our communities."

Factors contributing to this growth have been increased interstate migration following COVID-19 and additional investment in the tech sector in the wake of the shift towards more online work. The innovation-driven state has forecasted further growth, with tech workforce numbers anticipated to reach 200,449 by 2030.

A unique characteristic of Queensland’s tech workforce is its geographical dispersion. Almost half of the workforce, 48%, operate outside the state capital, making it Australia’s most decentralised tech workforce. This tech sector contributed a substantial $14.3 billion to the Queensland economy in FY22, reflecting its strategic importance to the state and the nation.

The sector is home to 13,000 technology businesses and currently contributes 17% of national tech investment. These figures are set to rise, with projected annual technology investment in Queensland expected to hit $33 billion by 2030.

Emerging technologies could be a game changer for the state. AI and robotics are anticipated to significantly alter the work dynamics of 95% of the Queensland workforce. This shift in technology is projected to necessitate reskilling for approximately 2.7 million Queensland workers within the period under consideration.

Despite this impending tech transformation, outdated digital skills have been identified as a significant cost factor, currently costing large Queensland businesses a considerable $505m each year.

The forthcoming hosting of the 2032 Olympics will necessitate significant investment in technology infrastructure. This event will stimulate further digital technology adoption, offering additional opportunities for Queensland’s tech sector growth and further demonstrating its significant role within the regional economy.

Mat Eames pointed out the state’s opportunities, saying: "For the last few years, we’ve seen a lot written about emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and robotics and this year’s Digital Pulse lays out the opportunities for Queensland as we head towards the 2032 Olympics."

According to the ACS report, a National Digital Skills Strategy is proposed, including a skills-first education and training initiative and more support for career transitions towards tech-oriented careers. This national strategy will aim to bolster diversity in tech skills, boost Women in Tech, and assist skilled migrants enhance their capabilities.