Thursday, 06 December 2018 11:40

Australians ‘fearful’ about losing jobs from impact of technologies: survey Featured

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Australians ‘fearful’ about losing jobs from impact of technologies: survey Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

More than half (51%) of Australian workers are fearful about losing their jobs due to the impact of technologies like artificial intelligence and automation, according to new research released to coincide with the official opening of Swinburne University of Technology’s new Centre for the New Workforce.

Swinburne says the centre, based at its Hawthorn campus in Melbourne, has as a mission to empower people to “thrive in the future of work”.

But the research, undertaken for Swinburne by YouGov, reveals Australian workers are concerned about losing their jobs due to the impact of technologies.

“New technologies are transforming work and workplaces as we know them, and this pace of change is set to accelerate further in the coming years,” said Swinburne vice-chancellor Professor Linda Kristjanson.

“As a society we must make sure we invest in our people as much as we invest in technology, to ensure we can thrive in the future of work. Business in partnership with universities together have a central role in preparing people for the digital economy. Swinburne is uniquely placed to address the future of work from both a vocational education and higher education perspective.”

“Remarkably, working Australians fear the impact of technology on their job security even more so than the impact of the economy. In particular, most Australians feel they are not ready for the changes they expect over the next five years,” Swinburne says.

“Encouragingly, the survey, which polled 1000 working Australians, found that almost three in five (59%) are prepared to take charge and be responsible for preparing themselves for the future of work. Australian workers want their learning to be work relevant.

“Learning on the job was ranked as their preferred (38%) way to learn.

“This is, at once, both a significant opportunity for Australian businesses to help realise the potential of their employees in the digital economy, and a significant responsibility and cost.

“As this benefits the economy and society more broadly, government must shoulder some of the responsibility and support businesses to better prepare Australians for the impact technology will have on jobs. Yet Australian workers were more dissatisfied with how government is preparing them for the workforce of the future than either the education system or their employer.”

“As companies and organisations increasingly begin to think about the digital economy, they tend to focus more on their technology requirements than on preparing their people," Dr Sean Gallagher, director of the Centre for the New Workforce said.

"The Centre for the New Workforce recognises that the future of work must foremost be about people. Australian workers want to take on the responsibility of their own upskilling to prepare for the future of work.

"They want their learning to be work-relevant, accessible, and integrated with work in a supportive environment. Businesses have an opportunity – and an obligation – to enable this, by providing their workforce with the right tools and culture to achieve learning for the future of work,”

Robbie Robertson, partner, Experience Design at Deloitte, said, “Integrating learning in the workplace is enabling employees to take control of their career and provides them with security in their role to keep up with the increasing pace of change due to technology. Ultimately, the future workplace will be a combination of learning and work integrated into one.

“As a partner, we are collaborating alongside the Centre for the New Workforce to support business leaders in embracing new approaches to work in a disruptive future and developing solutions that will enable businesses to succeed in the future of work.”

Swinburne’s Centre for the New Workforce is working alongside partners, including Deloitte and LinkedIn, to help organisations prepare their people to prosper in the face of digital disruption. The Centre investigates the fundamental changes underway in the future of work, and develops new approaches to learning that individuals and their organisations need to succeed.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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