Australia's digital economy is set to explode over the next few years, thanks to new waves of technological development and jobs, according to a new report.
The contribution of digital technologies to the economy is forecast to jump 76 per cent to $139 billion in 2020 from $79 billion in 2014, according to report, prepared for the Australian Computer Society by Deloitte Access Economics.
As a result, the digital economy will account for seven per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product from five per cent over the same period.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been pushing innovation front and centre of his government’s economic plan with the mining boom over.
Existing technologies, including cloud services, social media and mobile devices will see growing uses in new industries and jobs, according to the report.
“But a potentially larger source of future digital disruption will be the new technologies that are now emerging and their potential for commercial applications in the future – such as 3D printing in manufacturing, drones in the construction industry and driverless vehicles on mining sites,” the report states.
Jobs will be created at a greater rate within the information and communications technology sector than the broader workforce, with the ICT workforce forecast to grow two per cent annually from 628,800 in 2015 to 695,000 by 2020.
That compares to 1.4 per cent growth for the broader workforce over the same period, according to the report.
ICT – or information and communications technology – employment growth is forecast to be the strongest in the largest two ICT occupation groupings: ICT management and operations and ICT technical and professional.
The two will account for 75 per cent of the total jobs growth forecast.
“There is significant demand in the Australian labour market for technical roles such as software engineers and developers, with a number of these reflecting areas that have only emerged over recent years, such as cloud computing and cyber security,” the report found.
Demand is also high for occupations that integrate ICT systems and processes with the broader business, such as business development managers and business analysts.
But women continue to be underrepresented, comprising only 28 per cent of ICT workers, compared to 43 per cent across all professional industries.
Average earnings are also “significantly lower for women in the ICT workforce compared to men, with an average pay gap of around 20 per cent”.