Australians are being trained for jobs that may be obsolete in the near future
Automation and artificial intelligence doing high-level cognitive work may sound like the stuff of the future, but perhaps this future isn’t far off. Automation and robotics technologies are already starting to change the scope of the work force, as we know it. ANZ Bank revealed to the Australian Financial Review that they had been refining a program in robotics automation, which will change the composition of its workforce substantially. It is foreseeable that automation and robotics technology, such as this, could encroach on the jobs of Australians sooner than we expect.
A report from the Foundation for Young Australians predicts that in the next 10-15 years, 40% of Australian jobs could be replaced by automation and more than half of Australian students are studying and being trained for jobs that will be radically changed by automation. While automation offers a considerable amount of risks to the scope of the current Australian workforce, it does offer an equal amount of opportunities for Australians that are able to adapt to the changing demands of the digital age.
How we counter the risks attributed to automation in the workforce?
In order to navigate the changing scope of industries, what we need now is for more Australians to become job creators, rather than job seekers. Currently, there has been a growing trend in job uncertainty across all industries in Australia. The level of part-time work has risen dramatically in Australia, from 26% in 1998 to approximately 31% and this percentage is predicted to rise even more, especially due to automation.
With increased job insecurity it’s more important than ever before that we nurture a start-up ecosystem that allows new enterprises to emerge and drive new job opportunities. That way, we can turn the threats of automation and globalisation into positive forces that can encourage change and innovation.
There is also a mismatch between what Australians employers require of their workers, and the skills that Australians are gaining in study. Reports show that there is an increase demand for individuals with digital literacy with more than half of Australians being required to use, configure or build digital systems in the next 2-3 years. It is therefore crucial that the skills of the population remain relevant to the skills that employers and industries require. Such skills include, the configuration and building of digital systems, coding and electrical engineering.
The rise of automation will necessitate more Australians building and configuring complex digital systems. In order to navigate the multifaceted careers of the future, Australians should learn the skills that will enable them to be digitally literate, financially savvy and innovative. This will also ensure Australia maintains it’s competitive position in the global community.