Customarily, when people consider innovation they often concentrate on the end product – i.e. the app, the software or the piece of hardware. However, they generally dismiss the steps beforehand that are essential in developing the aforementioned innovative artefact.
In particular, human resources play a large part in the innovation process. Australia transcends in generating talented, high quality professionals across a comprehensive range of industries. In fact, education is Australia’s fourth biggest export, surmounted only by iron ore, coal and natural gas. Single-handedly, education added more than $17 billion to the Australian economy in 2014-15.
Hence, the evidence above indicates that Australia could indeed reach the innovation ideals that Turnbull has broadcasted for. Already there are programs in place to expedite our human resources knowledge and boost advancement. For instance, our federal R&D Tax Incentive is a catalyst for innovation. The scheme provides money back into businesses for eligible research and development activities. Likewise, the incentive encourages global companies, like Google and Atlassian, to retain significant engineering teams in Australia despite majority of their customers being based elsewhere.
In addition, the state governments around the country are revamping school syllabuses to focus on fundamental technology skills and digital literacy. Thus, when it comes to talent and government incentives, Australia is seemingly on the right track. The 2015 Global Startup Ecosystem Report, by research group Compass, reinstated Australia’s high calibre of talent. In specific, the report advised entrepreneurs to “set up a second office focused on engineering in an ecosystem with a lot of inexpensive and plentiful tech talent, such as Austin, Tel Aviv, or Sydney”.
Nonetheless, as the world becomes more digitally focused, the demand for high tech personnel is growing. Whilst we have skilled talent across areas like accounting, law and agriculture, Australia isn’t the yet the world leader on tech talent. To get there, we need to start producing more world-class STEM graduates, and we need to encourage gifted kids to consider joining a start-up as a legitimate career path.
This is not a ‘pie in the sky’ or wishful thinking – Australia has a genuine prospect to become a hub for the skills that will be most in demand in the future. With a track-record of intelligent individuals, Australia can build a world-leading technology workforce in the times to come. If we are successful in doing so, Australia will immensely progress our likelihoods of constructing a globally competitive technology ecosystem and preserving our future prosperity.
Swanson Reed provides specialist expertise across a wide range of industries and has assisted many clients attain tax cash savings under the R&D regime. Contact one of our specialist R&D Tax consultants to find out more about the scheme.