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High tech skills shortage? Why it’s time for Australian businesses to step up to the plate

By Shandel McAuliffe | |7 minute read
High Tech Skills Shortage Why It S Time For Australian Businesses To Step Up To The Plate

Training and developing the next generation of ICT workers is an investment that should pay local vendors and service providers back in spades.

Addressing skills shortages and getting the skills mix right over the long term was one of the agenda items for September 2022’s national Jobs and Skills Summit, which brought employers, unions and the government together to address Australia’s shared economic challenges.

Attracting and retaining high calibre employees


We understand that now, more than ever, the experience we provide as an employer is critical in finding and keeping key talent.

We have a well-developed people strategy that we execute against – this includes the two Rs: recruitment and retention.

When it comes to recruitment, attracting high calibre employees is significantly easier if your organisation has earned a reputation as a great place to work.

Today, it’s possible for candidates to glean extensive insights about your culture from social media platforms and review sites. If past hires are less than effusive about their experience on your team, it may be tough to tempt them to take the plunge.

Meanwhile, offering a seamless onboarding experience using robotic process automation (RPA) can ensure new starters get off on the right foot.

The other R, every bit as important, is retention.

The national ICT skills shortage means we’re in a sellers’ market. Workers with in-demand skills and knowledge are not short on options, with many receiving weekly approaches from recruiters and competitors.

Fail to focus on all the elements that keep employees engaged and committed – think supportive workplace culture, attractive career paths, ample professional development opportunities, competitive remuneration and a compelling benefits package – and you’re condemned to remain on the hiring merry-go-round; having to backfill existing roles as quickly as you secure candidates for new ones.

Building a stronger workforce from within

We have learnt that to grow a great team in a tight labour market, we need to grow our own. Relying on the education system and the market to generate a sufficiently large and deep talent pool is a questionable strategy for businesses like ours; one that won’t serve us, or the ICT industry at large, well in the long run.

We need to make a serious commitment to fostering talent internally; taking on rookie recruits and equipping them with the skills they need to kickstart successful careers in the sector.

The COVID-19 crisis was the catalyst for us to amp up our efforts on this front. Shortly after the federal government launched its Apprentice and Trainee Wage Subsidy Scheme, we signed up for a trainee pilot program run by the Australian Industry Group.

Since then, we’ve introduced more fresh faces into our business over the past 18 months, training them to work as support engineers within our managed services division, and supporting them to earn while they learn, attaining a formal qualification in IT alongside their work experience.

Broadening the talent pool

Through homegrown talent, we’ve developed a culture of learning, rich in diversity and experiences. Since the pandemic hit, we have introduced the Tecala Learning Academy, leadership programs and mentoring plans for our most promising individuals.

Leveraging talent where differing industry skills can be reapplied to the technology environment has been an invaluable asset for us. We’ve taken chances on those wishing to get their first break into the workforce as well as those embarking on a career transition.

The results: we couldn’t be happier with how each and every one of these individuals has progressed. Highly motivated and eager to learn, they’ve all become valued and well-liked members of the Tecala team, and we very much hope they’ll remain so, for many years to come.

We believe bringing more trainees and interns into the business will help us create a strong pipeline of emerging talent; talent we depend on, if we’re to continue servicing our customers and growing our business at a healthy clip.

If more ICT organisations do likewise, on whatever scale is suited to their requirements and resources, we could, over time, see an easing of the skills crisis that continues to affect our sector.

Renata Bastalic is the general manager for people and culture at Tecala



Mentoring pairs up less experienced workers with more seasoned ones to provide coaching, training, and development. This can be done informally or formally, with meetings and quantified results.


The practice of actively seeking, locating, and employing people for a certain position or career in a corporation is known as recruitment.

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel has recently returned to Australia after working in the UK for eight years. Shandel's experience in the UK included over three years at the CIPD in their marketing, marcomms and events teams, followed by two plus years with The Adecco Group UK&I in marketing, PR, internal comms and project management. Cementing Shandel's experience in the HR industry, she was the head of content for Cezanne HR, a full-lifecycle HR software solution, for the two years prior to her return to Australia.

Shandel has previous experience as a copy writer, proofreader and copy editor, and a keen interest in HR, leadership and psychology. She's excited to be at the helm of HR Leader as its editor, bringing new and innovative ideas to the publication's audience, drawing on her time overseas and learning from experts closer to home in Australia.

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