Startups and tech companies are the engine room for Australia’s future workforce

28 July, 2016

StartupAUS’ latest discussion paper examines important themes that will be included in its upcoming Crossroads Report


Australia, Thursday 28 July 2016:  As many as 4.6 million Australian jobs may be at risk within the decade if Australia fails to create a workforce for the future according to a discussion paper, Economy in Transition – Startups, innovation and a workforce for the future, released today by StartupAUS, Australia’s national advocacy group for startups.

The discussion paper, produced in partnership with Sydney startups Expert360 and CodeCamp, as well as global tech firm LinkedIn, suggests that while few jobs will be protected entirely from the confluence of technological advancements such as automation, startups and tech companies will generate forward-looking jobs based on emerging technologies.

The discussion paper examines some of the themes that will be included in the third annual StartupAUS Crossroads Report to be released in October 2016.

CEO of StartupAUS Alex McCauley said for every job in high-growth tech companies, as many as five tangential jobs are created. 

“The paper highlights the extensive economic benefits of building innovation hubs which have powerful multiplier effects. There’s a lot at stake here – if we get it right, we’ll be able to capitalise on it,” he said. “The findings reveal the very real need for Australia to keep up its momentum on innovation and startup policy. This is not a niche area – it’s about what we need to do to help our whole economy manage its inevitable transition.”

“We have two new portfolio Ministers who will be getting across these issues very rapidly and in a very focused way. This paper highlights the need for that urgency and focus.”

LinkedIn data included in the discussion paper suggests that 16 of the 20 most in-demand skills in Australia right now are technology-related, and workers with a mix of entrepreneurial, STEM, creative, and social skills will be in increasingly high demand to support the core of Australia’s burgeoning innovation ecosystem.
Despite this need, Australia has a profound talent shortage within the STEM field[1]. To combat this, the StartupAUS paper outlines specialised immigration as a crucial part of injecting critical skills into Australia’s current workforce. Thriving innovation hubs in the nation’s major cities will help attract this talent from around the world. 

Mr McCauley said: “As our tech startup ecosystem develops, Australia must be open to importing talent from overseas, and at the same time accept that skilled Australians will move offshore. This is a natural part of the modern employment landscape for high skill workers.

The discussion paper also shows new business models have also created opportunities for independent workers. Studies have shown a substantial increase in contingent work both globally and in Australia.  

The paper’s author, Colin Pohl, said: “In the US, approximately 34 per cent of the workforce is already made up of independent workers and we expect this to increase significantly and for a similar trend to be reflected here in Australia. Many corporate jobs require specialised skills that are not required on a permanent basis, and infrastructure support for freelancers will facilitate an increasing number of workers operating across a portfolio of briefs based on their specialised talent.” 

Bridget Loudon, CEO of Expert360, said: “The paper highlights both the growing demand for independent work and a need for increased specialisation and expertise within the freelance talent pool. Creating a future-ready workforce means encouraging a freelance economy across all levels of business. Platforms that enable Talent-as-a-Service (TaaS) will be key to this transition and encourage greater agility and productivity.”

Nick O’Donnell, APAC Head of Public Policy for LinkedIn, said: “A crucial factor that will influence the strength and stability of the global economy will be governments’ willingness to set policy levers that encourage entrepreneurism, risk taking and innovation; in doing so allowing a vibrant start-up community to flourish. LinkedIn was delighted to work with StartupAUS to share our in-depth Economic Graph analysis to uncover unique insights into the profile of Australia’s startup environment.”

Benjamin Levi, Co-founder of Code Camp, said: “Code Camp was founded two years ago as a solution to provide every Australian student with the opportunity to learn to code, build passion around STEM, and create their own iPhone app. Over the past two years we have grown from a team of two, to training an incredible team of over 200 engaging teachers whose priority is to inspire and challenge students in a fun environment. We’ve taught over 4,300 students in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Wollongong, Bowral, Newcastle and Adelaide. These skills we teach can be adapted to any industry.”

Robert Wickham, VP Innovation and Digital Transformation, Salesforce, said: “Addressing the skills shortage in Australia is a critical challenge that requires sustained bi-partisan support. We need to ensure that we focus on how to attract the world best talent immediately, but also how to retrain and educate future talent in the mid to longer team. Talent is the fertilizer that will enrich the local ecosystem to drive economic growth.”

StartupAUS believes by fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, nurturing a workforce with a forward-looking skill set, and establishing the infrastructure to support innovation we can be well-positioned to ensure the future of work in Australia is a bright one. 



About StartupAUS 

StartupAUS is a not-for-profit entity with a mission to transform Australia through technology entrepreneurship. StartupAUS believes a strong home-grown tech sector is vital to future Australian jobs and wealth. But getting there will require a national imperative to create the right environment, with a supportive culture and more entrepreneurs with the right skills. 

StartupAUS will expand its efforts to bring financial partners on-board to help corporates have a bigger voice in the emerging innovation conversation and assist StartupAUS in increasing its resources and activities ahead of this year’s election, as both sides of politics vie for innovative traction. The organisation’s current corporate partners include Salesforce and Google Australia. It also has a growing list of philanthropic benefactors including successful tech entrepreneur, Steve Baxter, Co-Chairman of CHAMP’s Board of Directors and Investment Committee, Bill Ferris, and Director and Co-Founder of Allen & Buckeridge, Roger Allen.

For more information visit:
Download the report here.

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Big news - we’re evolving!
#StartupAUS is excited to announce the formation of the Tech Council of Australia, a new peak industry body representing the technology industry. 
Building on the work of StartupAUS, the Tech Council aims to engage with governments, businesses and the wider community to help support the ongoing creation, development, and adoption of technology across industries, including continuing advocacy policy issues affecting our early-stage startup ecosystem. 
Head on over to our new website to find out more