A report from Deloitte Access Economics has valued the Australian digital economy at $79bn. This accounts for 5.1 per cent of gross domestic product this year. If the digital economy were its own industry, it would be valued higher than the agriculture, transportation and retail sectors. The continued rise in the use of smartphones, tablets, social media networks and cloud computing has contributed to the growth of the digital economy. The use of these and other technologies have grown this sector by 63 per cent since 2011. The report estimates that this industry will continue to grow rapidly, potentially reaching $139bn or 7.3 per cent of gross domestic product by 2020. The study also concluded that the surge in the use of technology in business added an additional $45bn of wealth in 2013.
Maile Carnegie, Google Australia and New Zealand managing director, said that Google was aware of the report. She believes this gives a clear indication to the government about the importance of policies that support the growth of the digital economy. The report estimates that there are 451,000 specialists in the information and communication technology sector, a number that Ms Carnegie believes to be too low. “I literally can't have a meeting with a CEO or a board these days without the skills shortage issue coming up. The money some companies are pouring into recruitment to try and find people with tech and analytics skills is just egregious," she said.” Of the 451,000 specialist jobs, an estimated 97 per cent of the jobs are in separate industries such as manufacturing, constructing, professional services, financial services, health and education. Deloitte Access Economics partner and report co-author Ric Simes emphasizes the importance of the digital economy to other industries. “The digital economy is changing from being a stand-alone industry to being embedded in businesses across the economy.”