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IT & T Skills Study Launched

[Sydney, AUSTRALIA] The IT & T Skills Exchange, together with Communications Minister Senator Richard Alston, today launched a national study into the supply and demand of IT & T skills in Australia, with a goal to examine any implications the skills shortage may have on the nation's economy.

Announcing the study, the chief executive officer of the IT & T Skills Exchange Brian Donovan said Australia must stem the national demand for skilled workers before the situation causes an irreversible downturn in the country's economic competitiveness.

"There is a growing body of evidence that suggests a digital divide is emerging between the leading IT & T nations that is threatening to disenfranchise Australia from the rest of the new world economy," Donovan said.

"Australia's GDP is inextricably linked to the country's burgeoning IT & T industry and deployment of IT & T through all sectors of the economy," he said. "Any downturn in this sector caused by our inability to provide a skills work force will have a drastic effector on the nation's economic prosperity."

The current study will build on the body of data already captured from a similar research project conducted in 1999 by the IT & T Skills Task Force, the predecessor of the IT & T Skills Exchange.

The previous body of research revealed that the demand for IT & T specialists in Australia was growing at approximately nine per cent each year, which was not being matched by the supply of new graduates.

The current research will seek to benchmark any change in demand for skilled workers against the previous growth rate, and also aims to examine the current rate of supply through educational providers. The economic impact of any identified gaps between supply and demand will be examined.

"It's one thing to identify a gap between the demand for IT & T workers and the current rate of supply, but the issue will only be taken seriously when the bottom line effect on the nation's GDP is demonstrated," Donovan said.