Digital economy demands new jobs and the skills to fit – The Australian Financial Review


This content has been funded by an advertiser and written by the Nine commercial editorial team.
The rapid acceleration of digitisation during the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated Australia’s skills gap in some of the technologies that will help drive the economy in the coming years, says John Mackenney, Adobe APAC digital practice lead.
When the coronavirus pandemic struck Australia and caused widespread lockdowns in early 2020, many businesses and government services quickly pivoted to online and digital models and work from home, increasing demand for digital skills
Australia needs to rapidly upskill as more business moves online.  Getty.
“The growth of artificial intelligence, machine learning and the deep data science that the companies and governments are using to start to really drive better experiences for their customers and to solve big problems are taking off,” says Mackenney.
“We’ve known as an industry and as an economy for a long time that we’ve got a gap around those capabilities, particularly around AI and data science, and that’s just been accelerated.”
To help alleviate the problem, the Australian technology industry has come together to build Skill Finder, a free digital micro-skills marketplace. The site, led by Adobe, offers more than 2000 free online micro-skills and courses from over 25 providers, including the world’s leading technology companies such as Atlassian, Google, IBM and Adobe.
John Mackenney, Adobe APAC digital practice lead. 
It was launched in October 2020 to help support Australia’s economic recovery through and post-pandemic.
The site contains 20 career pathways, which provide an idea of the sorts of qualifications and responsibilities involved in different technology-related jobs, as well as information about demand for the skills, working hours and pay.
For instance, it states that AI/machine learning programmers design, develop, test, maintain and document program code in accordance with user requirements, and system and technical specifications. Such a role pays on average $2003 per week and takes 41 hours, and future growth in employment is expected to be very strong.
Once a career aspirant sees a job description they like the look of, they can take some brief Skill Finder courses to get a taste for the work and see if it is something they would want to pursue further. Most courses take less than a day, with some only an hour or two.
Suzanne Steele is Vice President and Managing Director of Adobe ANZ and says the new “Career Pathways on Skill Finder will help meet the digital skilling needs of both individuals and employers looking to address emerging industry skills gaps”.
Suzanne Steele is Vice President and Managing Director of Adobe ANZ. 
“We continue to live and work in an uncertain and changing landscape where the importance of skills development to overcome barriers to employment remains paramount,” Steele says.
Mackenney says the site is also useful for people who already have qualifications but want to boost them as business and technology changes. These include people in non-digital roles as well, who increasingly need some technology skills.
“If you look at particularly people in the back half of their careers, they’ve effectively had to re-train and be able to understand some of these digital capabilities to be able to continue to do their job,” he says.
“Working from home, people have to be far more familiar with basic digital tools to be able to do their job and we’re seeing a gap in capability around that as well where people need to step in and really be able to get those fundamentals around digital literacy in place.”
Luke Hopkins tapped into Skill Finder when he began flat pack desk maker Ecosium during lockdown.
The company builds ultra-low waste and solid desks cut from a single piece of plywood, which can easily be assembled at home without any glues, nails or screws.
He had founded another business in health food manufacturing about a decade ago and had overseen the digital marketing, but found things had moved on by the time he wanted to start promoting Ecosium’s desks.
Ecosium’s Luke Hopkins used Skill Finder to update his digital marketing skills.  
“With my previous business, we had an agency who was looking after our online advertising, our paid search campaigns through Google, and so it had been a number of years since I was actually on the tools, so to speak, with setting up AdWords and down in the nitty-gritty details of actually doing it rather than just managing the agency to do it,” he says.
“With any digital advertising platform like that, they move so quickly that if it’s not your full‑time role, it’s really hard to know what the latest interface is doing, what the latest best practices are.”
He jumped into Skill Finder and found a course on LinkedIn on Google AdWords – the pay-per-click online advertising platform that allows advertisers to display their ads on Google’s search engine results page.
“It just gave me that initial understanding of the latest practices with that platform so I could jump back into it with a lot more confidence to know what I’m doing on the actual program itself rather than having to learn it as I went,” Hopkins says.
“I have no doubt I’ll jump back on at some stage and do another course, whether it’s accounting or development or some kind of marketing approach. There’s a lot there.”
Time to upskill? Skill Finder offers over 2000 free short courses from the world’s leading tech brands. Learn more and enrol at
This content has been funded by an advertiser and written by the Nine commercial editorial team.
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