Wednesday, 04 December 2019 11:13

Australia will lose more than 630,000 jobs in next decade: study Featured

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Australia will lose more than 630,000 jobs in next decade: study Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

A total of more than 630,000 jobs will be displaced in Australia during the next 10 years, global networking firm Cisco claims in a study carried out by Oxford Economics.

The 54-page report said while technological change could enable growth of productivity, significant parts of the workforce could be left behind if they did not acquire the skills needed.

The "displacement effect" equates to about 7.3% of the existing workforce. This reduction does not mean that economic output will suffer, the study pointed out.

Healthcare was nominated as the biggest net job creator over the next decade, with 80,000 new jobs being added. Tourism and retail are also expected to grow, by 22,000 and 20,000 workers, respectively.

Other sectors, however, are expected to shrink, with construction set to lose about 70,000 jobs or 8.4% of its workers. Manufacturing will lose 33,000 jobs, or 5.5% of its strength.

The study claimed that workers in the crafts and trades sectors would decrease by about 80,000. But so-called "professional occupations", which include nurses, teachers and software developers would in increase by more than 90,000.

jobs cisco

The biggest skills shortage was seen to be occurring in jobs requiring science, technology and mathematics skills.

"Our analysis suggests that the best available candidates would have to overcome a significant skills shortfall to meet the requirements of IT-related jobs. On average, they are 57% short of the programming skills requirements, projected for 2028. In sophisticated cognitive skills, such as maths and science, the best available candidates are up to 30% short of the skill levels new positions require," the study said.

Jobs that need maintenance, installation, and technical repair skills would also require aspirants to gain skills, with the best available candidates 25% to 35% short of the skills needed.

But overall more widespread skills transition will be needed as the labour market evolves. "For example, our model suggests more than 350,000 workers will be moving into jobs that require an upgrade to their listening, speaking, and critical thinking skills over this period," the study said.

"Some 150,000 workers will need to upgrade their negotiation, persuasion and learning skills. We see these softer, more human skills becoming increasingly in demand in the more technologically advanced economy of 2028."

Commenting on the findings, Cisco Australia and New Zealand Enterprise and Digital Transformation Office managing director Sam Gerner said: “Over the next 10 years the pace of technological change will be highly disruptive to the world of work, yet has the potential to deliver great rewards to those who anticipate the shifts in the labour market and the relevant skills that will be required.

"The productivity gains for all industries, defined in the findings as the 'income effect,’ illustrate a huge opportunity for Australia. This prompts the need for Australian industry and technology leaders, policy makers and educational institutions to join forces and develop frameworks and programs that will address that critical need for developing new skills in the current workforce and training younger generations.”

Gerner added, “A key insight from the report is the need for many roles that demand more developed soft skills, such as listening, speaking, critical thinking, negotiation and persuasion skills. These are the skills that are going to be more valued as technology increasingly takes care of the automated tasks. We are entering a period in time that really can be described as ‘the human era'."

Graphic: courtesy Cisco/Oxford Economics

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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