Tech remains Australia’s top priority amidst downturn

The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region remains a hotbed for digital transformation initiatives amid the economic uncertainty and ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Despite the slower growth in tech spending, we’ve noticed that many businesses are expecting IT budgets to increase. This is in hopes to retain talent in a tight labour market, while paving the way for a modern tech infrastructure.

What is the current market looking like?

We might still me in the midst of an uncertain situation, but we have noticed some positive steps for the IT space – there’s been some recovery on IT projects through greater capital expenditure of businesses. This move is an investment to future success, and with greater optimism and investor confidence, companies will likely begin gradually resuming hiring plans and picking up recruitment activity again.

So, what are the top tech sectors to look out for?

  1. Project Services

Commercial, Sales and Retail

Consumer optimism within this sector has been on the rise and market outlook seems to be positive. According to preliminary sales data, Australian retail sales rose again in July to A$30.75 billion, with gains in all states and territories except Victoria which relapsed into a lockdown. This amount is up a robust 12.2% on the same month last year.

More retail companies are aiming to increase the impact of their online platforms with online search and digital advertising investment. And while many of these retailers have reported a huge increase in online sales, those that have failed to invest sufficiently in their digital operations in recent years have been forced to fast-track plans to improve their e-commerce and delivery experience in order to find ways to let customers know they’re open for business online.

Automation will also transform the retail experience of consumers – with self-check kiosks, mobile apps to pay in-store, or the suggestion of eliminating online checkouts having a huge impact. Automation and tech adoption will also lead to the creation of jobs as companies invest in growth.

Information Technology and Telecommunications

According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 14.7 million internet subscribers at the end of June 2018. However, the pandemic and the need to remain at home clearly increased the important of having a strong internet connection at home. Demand for reliable fixed line and mobile internet connections is growing, and this generates strong, recurring, utility-like revenues for the telecommunications sector. And with 5G on the horizon, the space is continuing to grow.

  1. Security

Cybersecurity remains a critical enabler for digitalisation, and strategies will be needed to prioritize the protection of our cyberspace. The Australian Government recently reported a significant increase in COVID-19 themed malicious cyber activity across Australia since early March 2020. And the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch has received more than 100 reports of scams concerning COVID-19 in the last three months - these volumes are continuing to rise. Between 10 and 26 March, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) also received over 45 cybercrime and cyber security incident reports from individuals and businesses, all related to COVID-19 themed scam and phishing activity. Cybercrime is now believed to cost Australia's economy more than A$1 billion a year, with small businesses accounting for 43 per cent of all targets.

As such, there will be greater demand for Security Engineers, Analysts and Architects to ensure that businesses are pre-empting attacks and minimising the damage it could bring. You may view all available opportunities here.


  1. Data & Analytics

Australia’s commitment to a data driven future has been long-standing – there have been multiple ventures in creating and leading data innovation groups. Data61 is an example of this – this is a group that believe Australia has a A$315 billion economic opportunity enabled by data and digital technologies. This ultimately means that the country could position itself as a global leader.

With a Victorian government that supports and promotes STEM studies and careers, good engineering talent is consistently being given the space to thrive – and this supports the technology ecosystem. The government also continues to invest in technology and innovation with a strong focus on developing the digitalised industries of the future.

Melbourne’s ecosystem makes it a premier data analytics hub - the resources and creative energy of the city drive the implementation of data analytics in various industries.

There’s also a massive appetite among some of the larger companies in Australia right now for robotics processing automation (RPA) software for greater efficiency in utilising data. This means that there will be more career opportunities throughout the sector within areas such as sales, customer success, consultancy, and development.

  1. DevOps, Software and Development

As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more people working at home. This makes security and software considerations more important than ever before.

All levels of government have seen massive increases in remote working capacity and functionality. Applying DevOps principles to security practices has allowed them to adapt rapidly to those increased levels of working from home.

In the space of just three days, one large department went from 1,000 home workers to 20,000 people all stationed at home. This was only made possible due to the help of automation which allowed a rapid implementation of security policies. They quickly set up additional cloud infrastructure with the right security settings by using DevOps practices. Similarly, DevOps teams can use APIs to easily and quickly apply security policies to SaaS applications.

As DevOps practices assist in responding rapidly to changing situations, we are looking to see growth in the sector moving forward.


Movement in talent in times of a pandemic

Research has also shown that workers are going out of their comfort zone. Employees in Australia are 1.4 times more likely to apply for jobs in different industries, especially those in badly hit sectors such as recreation and travel. Meanwhile, workers in essential services and sectors that have grown during the pandemic – like network infrastructure, healthcare, and delivery services – are more likely to apply for jobs in their own industry.

Nonetheless, we’re noticing more and more Australian companies continuing to invest in emerging technologies amid the COVID-19 crisis. And by prioritising investments in the above mentioned areas, hiring will return with optimism in market performance. If you’re interested in discussing your next career move, you have a talent requirement within the technology space, or you simply want to discuss market trends further, reach out to us in the form below!

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Whether you’re a professional looking for a job or a business seeking highly skilled STEM talent, the team at Progressive is here for you.

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