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News & Analysis

AI analysts say automation is set to eliminate 2.7 million jobs by 2035

- March 11, 2020 2 MIN READ
I, Robot.
Up to 2.7 million Australian jobs could disappear due to automation over the next 15 years, a report into technology’s impact on the workplace has concluded. The changes will also hit the female workforce harder than their male counterparts.

But the good news is that more than double that number of roles, 5.6 million, could be created if the proper investment is made in the upskilling workers.

The Technology Impacts on the Australian Workforce report, prepared for tech organisation ACS by work analytics firm Faethm,said emerging technologies is changing the workforce  an unprecedented rate and 1.4 million of the potential 5.6 million new jobs generated over the next 15 years will be directly tech related.

ACS CEO Andrew Johnson said that government needs to respond to the changes technology is bringing with a macro, cross-policy approach to address issues such as skills shortages.

Faethm is a software-as-a-service artificial intelligence platform delivering data, analytics and insights on the impact of emerging technologies and part of the ACS Harbour City Labs.

Johnson said the research looked at technology adoption and s-curves across 17 technology categories.

“In addition to occupations and skills requirement forecasts, we also wanted to explore the degree to which imbalances might exist between the adaptability and future-readiness of workers across industries,” he said.

“The outcomes tabled in our Technology Impacts on the Australian Workforce report provide deep insights for businesses to inform future workforce development plans, as well as for policy makers to maximise the participation rate of all citizens in the opportunities afforded by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Faethm used Australian Census data, mapping employment classifications to a company’s job taxonomy for more than 1,500 job families for a like-for-like comparison of the nation’s workforce data.

The 1,511 job families defined in Faethm’s modelling cover 244 attributes such as abilities, knowledge, skills matched with human abilities defined by over 20,000 job tasks to create a matrix measuring each industry’s exposure to automation.

Of the industries examined, Admin and Support Services has the highest automation rate; Information, Media and Telecommunications faces the most augmentation by technology; while Health Care and Social Assistance is the industry with the highest job growth rate and Finance and Insurance Services has the highest proportion of new technology jobs.

Globally, other nations’ investment in skills development and transition to date far outreaches Australia’s spending. The report warns that in an environment in which GDP is slowing, the nation’s current and future economy is being further constrained by that underspending.

The report also found the impact of automation on men and women is not equal with 63,000 female financial sector women being forecast to be affected as opposed to 45,000 men. While 100,000 women in the profession, scientific and technical services sector stand to be impacted compared to 84,000 men.

The full report is available on the ACS website here.

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