Australia is attractive to top tech talent, says Telstra COO
Australia is developing a vibrant tech start-up culture and attracting top talent from other regions, said Telstra Chief Operations Officer Robyn Denholm.
Ms Denholm, who has recently returned to Australia after a stellar career with tech giants Sun Microsystems and Juniper in America, was questioned on the competitive landscape in the USA versus Australia by an audience of Telstra Wholesale customers at the Market Connections Forum event.
“Obviously, the market here is much smaller, so there are a lot of constraints in terms of economies of scale. [But] I do think if I was starting a company today from Australia I wouldn’t be worried about that as much.
“You know, it was the case, even five years ago, that if you started a technology company in Australia you really had to go to the US or to another market, not to sell your goods but to get funded, all your services. But, actually, I think that’s changing quite a bit.”
Prominent start-ups such as Sydney-based software company Atlassian, have helped put Australia on the map for engineering talent, Ms Denholm added.
“I also think in terms of talent, that’s probably the number one thing; the attractiveness of the company for the best talent in the world, because it is a very competitive environment out there. When I moved to the US 15 years ago there was a technology industry here but it was pretty nascent and there weren’t a lot of companies that were starting from here and staying here and exporting to the world. That’s changed. Obviously, Atlassian had a big role to play in that, and some other companies as well.
“The start-up environment here is quite vibrant, and much more so than it was even five years ago, I think, and I think that’s phenomenal,” she added.
The quality of education in Australia is driving innovation, said Ms Denholm.
“The one thing we take for granted here is our education system. I think our education system is phenomenal here. We probably don’t produce enough engineers but that’s a testament to the fact that we've got a smaller population. But we’re attractive for engineers globally which I think is really good.”