Chronic Tech Skills Shortage here to stay

Today Australia faces chronic shortages of tech talent. Can autistic people help fill the gap?

3 minute read

Business leaders across Australia are concerned about the talent gap. One in four businesses reported that they are struggling to find suitable staff to fill jobs, according to June ABS data. One of the main causes is reduced incoming migration caused by Covid. However, we are also seeing the long term impacts of ignoring talent on our doorstep.

Since 2017 Xceptional have worked to connect autistic people to meaningful careers. We have profiled thousands of autistic individuals and spoken to hundreds of employers around the world.

Australia now faces a chronic shortage of tech talent that, due to the impact of Covid, is likely to last for several years ahead. With international borders shut, the annual population statement estimates that more than 500,000 fewer migrants than previously predicted will come to Australia through the Covid period (2019-2023).

Graph showing decline in population growth from 2018-2019 to 2030-2031

According to the Hays Salary Guide Australia 2021 – 68% of the local technology industry is suffering from skills shortages. Meanwhile RMIT and Deloitte Access Economics, Australia will need 156,000 more digital technology workers by 2025, representing one in four jobs created during that period.

Each week, we speak with employers across Australia who are struggling to fill roles in software engineering, QA, product management, data analysis and network support.

At the same time, autistic people face significant barriers to finding and keeping a job. The unemployment rate is estimated to be 35%, and up to 80% if underemployment is factored in.

The changes employers around the world have adopted through Covid have led to a once in a generation opportunity to rethink how and where we work. The rapid adoption of remote work, for example, makes it easier for autistic people who often prefer to work at home. Our team is supporting employers to assess, place and coach highly skilled autistic professionals into technology jobs for employers large and small. We think now is the time to hire autistic employees.

As employers struggle to fill critical technology roles our message is simple: your next Python programmer, security analyst or network administrator could be an autistic person hiding in plain sight: either unemployed or underemployed.

If you are an employer there has never been a better time to speak to us about the amazing skills of autistic people and what they can do for you.
If you are an autistic adult looking for employment, our process treats you as an individual – to find out more visit

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