The global job market for tech specialists is highly competitive and fluid. People with the right skill set have the option to choose where they live and work.
Today, for instance, we witness some IT specialists leaving Silicon Valley because of the rising cost of living. Add in such events as the contentious political scene in the US, Brexit in the UK and French President Macron’s recent call for IT specialists to relocate to Paris and we expect to see plenty of movement in tech jobs over the next 12 months.
Australia, a high-income economy with good weather, stable politics and a diverse culture seems well-placed to take advantage of these changing employee dynamics. However, recent changes to 457 visa rules raise the prospect that we could be in danger of losing attractiveness to IT job seekers.
For this analysis, we reviewed the behaviours of millions of global IT job seekers over the past two years. Globally, Indeed has 200 million unique visitors from job seekers a month and 1.3 million sources of jobs — from job boards to direct employers and recruitment firms. In Australia, we analysed the behaviours of 4.1 million job seekers who visit Indeed each month.
Let’s take a look at the data and what it shows us about the state of tech hiring in Australia today.
- Twice as many foreigners are likely to click on tech jobs in Australia as local talent.
- Overseas talent is almost 10 times more likely than local talent to click on Senior Operations Engineer postings, with many other roles also seeing great imbalances of interest.
- Web developer is the hardest to fill tech role in Australia.
Top 10 Australian tech roles that attract foreign interest
For this analysis we looked at demand for 137 different specialist IT roles in Australia. For 100 of those roles, interest from overseas-based job seekers outweighed local interest. For the top 30 roles, foreign interest was 3 to 10 times higher than local interest. In the table below, we highlight the ten roles with the greatest difference in interest.
Of all these roles, senior operations engineer shows the greatest difference — here, almost 10 times as many job searches for this role originate overseas.
Senior tester comes in second, with more than seven times as much interest coming from foreign job seekers as local ones. The numbers remain similarly high all the way to 10th place PHP engineer, where almost four times as much interest comes from job seekers searching from abroad.
But that’s not all: there has been a 30% increase in the overall number of overseas job seekers looking for tech jobs in Australia compared to the same period last year. If this pool of talent ceases to be available to Australian businesses in six or twelve months’ time, then it seems likely employers could face a serious shortfall of talent.
Top 10 hardest tech roles to fill in Australia
Today, of course, demand for tech talent stretches across all industries, further fueling demand. Below we highlight the ten hardest-to-fill roles in Australia today.
Of all positions, the most difficult to fill are web developers. Here in Australia, 27% of roles are still open 60 days after being posted on Indeed’s site.
Meanwhile, 22% percent of PHP developers and front-end developer roles are still open after 60 days, and 13% of software architect roles are still available over the same period.
Again, faced with numbers like these, it is possible that the federal government’s decision to eliminate the 457 visa system could increase difficulty and also the amount of time it takes to fill high-level tech roles.
Overseas interest in hard to fill tech roles in Australia
Although the new visa system will not be active until March 2018, hundreds of occupations have already been removed from the list of those eligible for work visas in Australia — including ‘web developer’. The table below shows which roles are currently receiving the most interest from overseas, and contrasts the results with domestic interest.
Only 26% Australians expressed interest in hard-to-fill Senior Java Developer roles in comparison to 74% of foreigners for the same role. Thirty-seven percent of Australians expressed interest in hard-to-fill Senior Software Developer roles in comparison to 63% of foreigners for the same role. Meanwhile, only 38% Australians expressed interest in hard-to-fill Cloud Engineer roles in comparison to 62% of foreigners for the same role.
Who is clicking on tech jobs in English speaking countries?
For context, we also took a look at the situation in other English-speaking countries. After all, today Australia competes globally to attract tech job seekers.Here we see the impact of having a smaller IT talent pool to begin with. Foreign talent clearly outweighs local talent with twice as many foreigners clicking on tech jobs in Australia compared to locals.
Not only that, but Australia’s dependence on interest from overseas job seekers is greater than any of the other countries we looked at. For instance, in the US, home-based tech talent clicks on IT roles in the US at double the rate of overseas talent.
Technology is currently the biggest driver of change and affects every industry, leading to high demand for IT specialists globally. IT job seekers worldwide are spoilt for choice in today’s fast-changing geopolitical and economic environment. This analysis shows that Australian roles are in high demand by foreign job seekers in this fast-moving sector.
Little wonder, then, that the tech sector was one of the strongest supporters of the 457 visa system.
However, now there is a risk that skill shortages in the tech sector could be exacerbated by changes to the 457 skilled visa program. A tighter visa arrangement may make Australia a less attractive destination for skilled migration — with knock-on effects for employers and the economy.
Indeed is the #1 job site in the world and allows job seekers to search millions of jobs on the web or mobile in over 60 countries and 28 languages. More than 200 million people each month search for jobs, post resumes, and research companies on Indeed. According to SilkRoad and iCIMS, Indeed is the number 1 source of external hires for thousands of companies, and has 3 million employers posting listings on its job site in addition to a database of 100 million resumes to date. In Australia, Indeed is the #2 job site with 10 million visits from job seekers a month. For more information, visit au.indeed.com.