Why we still need a bustling manufacturing industry in Australia
With the mining boom slowing, the weakening of the Australian dollar and the growing unemployment rate, it’s becoming increasingly important that we look to other sources of income to fill in the gap in our economy— and this source may come in the form of manufacturing.
While low-skilled manufacturing jobs will continue to drop in Australia, especially with the rises of automation and globalisation (particularly in places of low-wages, such as China), there does seem to be a future for high- end innovative manufacturing to which Australia would have a competitive advantage in, according to the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency.
How will the manufacturing of high-end innovative products benefit Australia?
This niche in the manufacturing industry of high-end goods will increase Australia’s ability to obtain a stable competitive advantage in the market place. The transition towards more advanced and innovative manufacturing systems benefit Australia by: creating more stable full-time jobs – with decent benefits, and also stimulate the lagging Australian economy.
By shifting the focus of the economy from the mining of fossil-fuels (which is set to be disrupted in the near future due to advancements in renewable energy), we can create a powerful, long-term solution to the current deficit in the Australian economy and job market.
It is unfeasible that Australians should have to compete with low-wages for low-skilled manufacturing, and that is why we should adopt a more forward thinking culture, with an emphasis on innovation, and the production of high-end products.
How can the manufacturing industry prepare for this change?
In order to switch to the production of complex products, it is critical that Australian manufacturers are provided with moderate to high-level skills necessary to keep up with the changing demands of the industry. Skills that would be of a particular advantage in this industry would be in areas such as: Information Technology and Science, Engineering.
A skilled workforce will provide Australia with the access we require to capitalise on the niche market of complex, innovative manufactured products.