The Australian IT jobs market…what migrants need to know

Why is the Australian IT Jobs market for migrants different?

The Australian IT market is not comparable to other markets. The US is the worlds leading software development market followed by Japan. This is followed by the dramatic changes in India and more recently the Philippines due to outsourcing.

Australia is a big country with a small population. This means competition for Australian IT jobs is strong. Most migrants are told by migration agents that Australia is the land of milk and honey. Many migrants come with the expectation that jobs will be plenty and easy to find.

Specifically in IT industry or domain expertise is what matters. So for example software developers may be faced with competition from overseas markets.

A large proportion of Australian companies outsource core software development.

A number of IT migrants I have coached will not have the domain expertise required. As a specific example the banking industry expects that an IT specialist will have banking experience. So even if you have over ten years experience in Project Management in the financial industry it is challenging to get a position in banking.

Knowledge that you have developed about your home country needs to be developed for Australia. What I mean by this is your understanding of the economy that you automatically know about your home country needs to be developed from scratch in Australia as you are not familiar with the economy.

Companies like HP, Microsoft, Google have totally different operations meeting strategic needs in this region. Often these companies have different hiring requirements for IT professionals in Australia. Other major name companies may only have a distribution or sales channel in Australia as the market is too small to have significant operations. IT in Australia industry focusses on;

  • property and business services.
  • finance and insurance.
  • government administration and defence.
  • communication services and manufacturing.

(Source www.austrade.gov.au/Buy/Australian-Industry-Capability/ICT/default.aspx)

What can IT migrants do when you don’t have “domain” expertise?

Firstly the Australian economy is made up of small and medium sized businesses (over 70%) There are a lot of opportunities in the hidden market. Company research helps you identify potential job opportunities.

The Australian Trade Commission explains more about the ICT industry in Australia below:

Approximately 400,000 Australians are employed in ICT occupations or specific ICT industry businesses (Source: ABS, Labour Force Survey, August 2008). There are around 30,300 such businesses (Source: ABS, Cat. No. 8126.0, Information and Communication Technology Australia, 2006-07, October 2008) and many industries employ ICT professionals – chiefly: property and business services, finance and insurance, government administration and defence, communication services, and manufacturing.

Australia’s ICT workforce offers extensive domain-level knowledge and quality technical expertise – particularly in architecture and integration. The result is targeted, clever and innovative ICT solutions for a range of companies across different industries.

The A$2.7 billion software industry has benefited from comparatively low development costs and a highly skilled workforce, and has consequently become a target for strategic ICT investment (Source: Microsoft Australia, Local Software Economy Initiative: Annual Report 2007). Companies such as IBM, Canon, Citrix, EDS, Fujitsu, Google and NEC have built major software development facilities in Australia.

Australia has also proved a particularly fertile domain for creative digital industries which generate in excess of A$23 billion per year (Source: ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, Queensland University of Technology). The digital game development sector alone generated A$136.9 million in 2006-07, with 93 per cent derived from exports (Source: ABS, Cat. No. 8515.0, Digital Game Development Services, Australia, 2006-07). Working with the film industry, Australian digital content expertise has won global acclaim in productions such as the animated feature film Happy Feet.

IT migrants to Australia can get jobs by understanding the Australian IT market to find jobs.