Closing the ambition gap among Australians

Australia’s tech industry has made a name for itself on a global level with numerous innovations coming from the land of the green and gold. It is however, not without its issues, many of which threaten the emerging industry’s growth and future potential. Lack of funds in the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the increasing risk of cyberattacks and most significantly, the ambition gap among Australia’s IT leaders, are just some of the industry’s growing concerns.

The recent State of Dark Data research from Splunk has shown that Australia is using AI predominantly to catch up or stay on par with global leaders, while China, Germany and the US are using AI to widen their lead or leapfrog ahead of competitors. In fact, when it comes to AI adoption, Australia implied a low rate with 43 per cent of respondents saying AI is already – or will in the near future be – an important part of their organisations operations, compared to the global average of 52 per cent.

Data skills are vital, now and in the future

There is a near-universal agreement from our research that data skills are integral to the jobs of tomorrow. To take it one step further, it’s a running theme that employees combining technical data skills with business acumen will be the most in demand in the next 10 years — more than employees with either technical data skills or business expertise alone. As technology and business both evolve together, having leaders who are willing to learn and apply these skills is going to be more important than ever before.

The same research suggests that 83 per cent of Australian business managers and IT leaders believe they need to learn more data skills if they are going to have a job in their organisation in ten years. Yet, only 53 per cent are excited about it, and 59 per cent feel like they are too old to learn. There is a clear gap between the need for data skills and the willingness to acquire them among our current pool of IT professionals.

The State of Dark Data research from Splunk has also shown that 83 per cent of workers believe they need to learn more data skills if they are going to have a job in their organisation in ten years, higher than the global average of 78 per cent.   This only highlights the need to close the ambition gap in Australia’s technology industry, with the fear that Australia will be left behind.

Credit: Illustration 131022530 © Ruslan Kholyaev -

Creating an environment of continuous learning

Combatting the ambition gap and lack of skills in Australia’s business leaders means proactively aiming to remove the barriers, perceived or real, and seek out improvement. While it is important for organisations to keep their workforce upskilled through structured training, business leaders should promote a culture of continuous learning. Organisations need to sustain new skills and knowledge by building an environment that supports active and independent learning all the time. Enabling a culture of learning will empower employees to keep up with the rapid pace of evolving tech skills and set the organisation up for long-term success.

The ability to overcome any barriers to adopting new skills will result in a stronger workforce who can future-proof an organisation. Business managers and IT leaders have a responsibility to not only themselves, but the people around them. By prioritising data, upskilling employees and promoting continuous learning, they can ensure their survival in a climate that is constantly evolving.

This will ultimately promote growth in the Australian tech industry, as leaders of today and the future are properly equipped with the right data expertise to guide business strategy and fuel innovation with confidence.