Why Australia needs more mathematicians and data scientists

Incentive, much? Senior data scientists can earn up to $141K per year. Image: Shutterstock

Australia needs mathematicians and data scientists in the workforce to compete in the global digital economy

Data and maths skills are in big demand in industry, but not enough graduates with these skills are coming through. One way to fill that gap is skilled migration. Each year the Australian Government allocates places to people looking to live here under a “Skilled stream”, so temporary visa holders and permanent residents can contribute specific skills to the workforce. Post-COVID-19, the demand for these skills is growing.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, we are seeing a real increase in enquiries from companies wanting to hire skilled data scientists and those with a background in mathematics,” says Lillian Ajuria, at partner at Ajuria Lawyers who specialises in corporate immigration. “Australia is clearly competing with other western countries for this
talent as we deal with a skills shortage.”

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Lillian Ajuria, Law Partner

Global competition

A Data Skills and Capability in the Australian Public Service report notes that Australia’s ability to remain competitive in the digital economy is reliant upon harnessing the value of data: “Australia needs to be supported by a workforce that has the skills and capability to analyse and extract the most value out of the data. And therefore, the biggest skills gap that currently exists is in data analysis.”

Lillian says the Australian Government’s Global Talent Visa Program is “attracting a lot of
interest from individuals all over the world with backgrounds in data and maths”. Which can only be a good thing.

“More companies are looking to connect with these individuals and there is certainly a strong feeling that opportunities for new graduates and those with experience in these fields will be in high demand for some time,” she says.

Sign me up

If you’re an on-shore international student studying maths or data science, there are opportunities in the Federal Government’s migration program strategy. Migration program planning levels are set by the Department of Home Affairs and they’re divided
into state and federal-based occupation skills lists.

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According to Ashish Sethi, principal solicitor at Migration Law Firm, some of the most sought after maths and data occupations in the GSM (general skilled migration) and ENS (employer nomination scheme) programs are:

Ashish Sethi, Solicitor

• Mathematicians
• Accountants
• Statisticians and Economists
• Data Scientists

“Australia is a country of innovators,” says Ashish. “The Federal Government continues to encourage and promote immigration pathways for students and applicants from STEM
backgrounds, including maths and data science.”


This article originally appears in Careers with STEM: Maths & Data 2021.

Astha Singh

Author: Dr Astha Singh

Astha is the Managing Editor at Refraction Media. She is a STEM Marketer and holds a Honors, Masters & PhD degree in Science. She has been producing STEM marketing content for over 10 years and is an avid advocate of Diversity in the STEM industry.

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