Besides experiencing a dramatic decline in ICT jobs during the past five years, Sydney is also fast losing ground as Australia’s ICT hub, according to a study conducted by Monash University’s Centre for Population and Urban Research.
Researchers Bob Birrell, Ernest Healy and Paul Smith analysed data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and found a decline of nearly 16,000 computer servicing jobs in Sydney since the turn of the millennium.
And while Melbourne has maintained its national share of about 27% of all ICT jobs in Australia, Sydney’s share has dropped from nearly 41% in 2000-2001 to 34% this year.
Healy attributes the nationwide decline in ICT jobs to a number of factors, including millennium bug fears and the Sydney Olympics in 2000, which could have led to a boom, and subsequent collapse, in the employment of ICT staff.
The July 2000 introduction of the GST in Australia could also have contributed to the boom, as most companies had to either install new accounting programs, or modify their existing business software to be able to conduct business under the new tax regime.
Sydney has also experienced a decline in population growth and a move towards the outsourcing of ICT services, which Healy says could be contributing factors to its loss of national share of computing jobs.
“I suppose in the first place, there does tend to be a higher concentration of high-end servicing jobs in Sydney relative to the rest of the country,” he says.
“[But] Sydney is no longer accounting for as big a part of the total number of computer services people that it used to; part of that absolute decline might be due to ... Y2K, GST and offshoring. But the decline in national share may be simply be to do with the fact that the population is growing rapidly in other parts of Australia, whereas the population growth in Sydney has slowed right down.”