Australia’s digital economy is expected to grow significantly over the coming years. This growth will be fuelled by new waves of technological developments. Existing technologies such as cloud services, social media and mobile devices will see growing uses in new industries, sectors and occupations. But a potentially larger source of future digital disruption will be the new technologies that are now emerging and their potential for commercial applications in the future – such as 3D printing in manufacturing, drones in the construction industry and driverless vehicles on mining sites.

The contribution of digital technologies to the Australian economy is forecast to grow from $79 billion in 2014 to $139 billion in 2020. This represents growth of over 75% and an increase in the digital economy from 5% to 7% of Australia’s GDP. The vast majority of this growth (97%) is expected to take place in sectors outside of the traditional Information, Media and Telecommunications industry.

Demand for ICT workers is therefore forecast to increase in the future. In 2015, there were around 628,000 ICT workers in Australia, with 53% of this ICT workforce employed outside of ICT-related industries, such as in professional services, public administration and financial services (Chart i). This already represents higher-than-expected growth relative to the 605,000 ICT workers estimated in 2014 in Australia’s Digital Pulse 2015– reflecting an increasing take up of ICT jobs, but also general strength in the Australian labour market and some possible sampling issues in the labour force data.

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