Australia has tied with Ireland as the eighth most competitive country in the IT space, a new survey has claimed.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has released its 2011 edition of the IT Industry Competitiveness Index, which found that despite its economic woes, the US has the world's most competitive IT market.

Gartner analyst, Rolf Jester, told Computerworld Australia that while the US may be on the verge of recession, it hasn't stopped the nation from maintaining its competitive edge in the IT space.

"Competitive doesn't necessarily equate to the size or growth rate of the market," he said.

"Failure is a big, big black mark against a business person [in Australia] but in the US, that goes on your CV as a plus, up to a point... cultural differences make a real impact."

Jester said that while he couldn't comment directly on the results of the research, he did say that Australia has an edge over other nations when it came to the kinds of investments that are made here.

"We've always found that when we're discussing these sorts of questions of companies wanting to invest here," he said. "We find that Australia is attractive not from having a huge or cheap labour force, but from having a highly educated, technically up to date labour force and a creative labour force."

BSA president and CEO, Robert Holleyman, said the index, which benchmarks 66 countries against a series of indicators in IT innovation, was far from dominated by one country.

"No country holds a monopoly in information technology," he said.

"We're seeing the fast-growing economies of the developing world invest heavily in things like research and development and human capital."

Holleyman said countries with a high ranking must be vigilant as smaller players slowly increase their power.

"Policymakers cannot just look at this issue on an annual basis, or they risk being left behind," he said. "They must assess the next seven to nine years, and invest accordingly, in order to make substantive gains in IT competitiveness."

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