The online economy doesn’t have enough people to prop it up and immigration rules need to change to let more web workers in, according to REA Group chief executive Tracey Fellows.
The boss of one of Australia’s biggest tech companies says the country is “tapped out” of computer science graduates, and not just because it’s a boring subject (well, maybe a little), but because the government needs to loosen immigration rules so that more people who can do the jobs are allowed to come into the country.
“Our business is entirely an IP [intellectual property] business, in that it is entirely human-capital based,” Fellows said, according to Fairfax.
“The promise of the FTA is it enables … fences around countries to come down. [But] from the point of view of an Australian company, one of the biggest challenges we face is access to skills. We are almost tapped out in being able to find the skilled resources that we need.”
Fellows praised the free-trade agreements between China, Japan and Korea, but asserts the government needs to improve labour mobility throughout Asia to help companies like REA, who’s biggest problem now is accessing talent to engineer and maintain websites like realestate.com.au.
And while Aussie students have an apparent disdain for computer science and engineering, Fellows said in China these jobs are highly regarded and graduates in the field are a-plenty.
“It’s just supply and demand. Demand far exceeds supply. So if you have children, especially girls, make sure they do technology at school.”
CEDA chief executive Stephen Martin said the government would expand the labour mobility agreement it shares with trans-Tasman buddies New Zealand to countries in Asia, according to Fairfax.
Martin said Australia had been “educating the best and brightest of Asia’s developing economies” for the past 50 years, and while Australia would need to “proceed with caution”, this type of agreement moving forward has major benefits for Australia’s computer science industries.
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