Young Australians are among the least prepared around the world for the digital economy, ranking last in a global survey of nine countries.
Australians were least confident of their technical abilities and job prospects in the innovation age, a report released at the World Economic Forum by IT consultancy Infosys said.
And while they’re highly aware of the need to learn new skills, Australians are also the least interested in improving their STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) knowledge.
Less than a fifth wanted to develop data skills, build mobile apps or learn how to code.
And even fewer, just 3.41 per cent of survey respondents, had a desire to work for a startup over a large company.
The result puts Australians at the bottom of the heap compared to other young people surveyed in China, India, United States, UK, Germany, France, South Africa and Brazil.
Andrew Groth, the vice-president of Infosys Australia and New Zealand, said the Turnbull government’s focus on innovation had not come a moment too soon.
“Australia’s STEM skills gap is too large and we need to start closing it,” he said.
The survey of 9000 people aged between 16 and 25 showed that 40 per cent believed their current job could be replaced by some form of automation within a decade.
Those in developing countries like India and China were most optimistic and confident about their work skills.
The IT gender imbalance in those countries was also significantly smaller than Australia’s where the gap was highest with 48 per cent of men displaying IT competence compared to 28 per cent of women.