AI/Machine Learning

The Tech Council wants more artificial intelligence training for workers support up to 200,000 AI-related jobs by 2030

- July 2, 2024 2 MIN READ
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The creative destruction to workplaces wrought by artificial intelligence (AI) could create up to 200,000 jobs to replace those it also takes, according to a new report from the Tech Council of Australia (TCA).

While AI has many fearful that they’ll be made redundant, the report, produced in partnership with Microsoft, LinkedIn and Workday, argues that greater AI adoption could contribute $115 billion to the economy and 70% of that figure will come from productivity gains.

Australian productivity has flatlined in recent years. In the decade to 2020, Australia’s productivity growth was the slowest in 60‑years, with average productivity growth over 20 years to 2022 sitting at just 1.2%, with migration as the key driver of the nation’s economic growth.

The tech industry’s peak body is releasing the report at Parliament House, Canberra, today after hosting a tech company showcase for politicians there yesterday. It makes a plea to governments to create policy settings that embrace the adoption of AI at a time when parliamentary inquiries are grappling with its impact on the workforce, along with its ethical implementation.

The TCA report finds that Australia’s AI workforce has grown over the past decade from 800 workers in 2014 to more than 33,000 in 2023, meaning there as many AI workers now as school principals or architects.

To achieve a 500% growth in the AI workforce over the next seven years, the TCA says there needs to be a skills shift through a combination of entry-level training, upskilling of existing workers and mid-career training. They want the government to intervene to ensure a supply of trained workers via diversified pathways, including greater uptake in VET or short-course training, could increase the supply of workers in cybersecurity, product and design roles.

Microsoft’s ANZ chief technology office, Sarah Carney, said workers need to adapt to changes in job requirements across tech and non-tech occupations.

“Australians are already using AI-powered tools to help with tasks and are reporting that it saves them time and allows them to focus on more important work and be more creative,” she said

“But there is still massive growth to come, so we need to ensure we have the AI-skilled workers available to reap the economic and social benefits that the technology will bring as it becomes more widespread.”

TCA CEO Damian Kassabgi said artificial intelligence is transforming how we work.

“We’ve seen enormous growth in Australia’s AI workforce in recent years, which will only increase with greater adoption of the technologies,” he said.

“This growth won’t be isolated to the tech sector or tech jobs. In addition to roles that are responsible for developing, designing and maintaining AI systems, we will need people with skills in areas such as human resources, sales and governance to successfully scale these systems and businesses to harness the potential in front of us.”

The report suggests promoting awareness of AI jobs and skills needs and boosting AI literacy could drive growth in jobs to support the scaling of AI systems and products in fields such as finance, human resources, sales and operations, and governance roles across legal, policy, and risk and compliance.