Sunday, 20 March 2016 23:26

Mobile tech take-up delivers $43bn in productivity, workforce participation benefits: research

By
AMTA Chair Matthew Lobb AMTA Chair Matthew Lobb

New, Australia-first research on the impacts mobile technologies are having on the country’s productivity and workforce participation challenges has found that Australia’s economy was $42.9 billion larger in 2015 than it would otherwise be because of the benefits generated by mobile technology take-up.

According to Deloitte Access Economics the latest economic analysis commissioned by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) for its Mobile nation series, shows the economy was larger because of the long-term productivity - $34 billion/2.0% of GDP - and workforce participation ($8.9 billion/0.6% of GDP) benefits generated by mobile.

The survey also reveals that mobile is impacting workforce participation, by providing the ability to work remotely as well as meet personal commitments while at work:

• 65,000 full-time equivalent jobs were supported by the increased GDP attributable to workforce participation (equivalent to 1% of total employment in the Australian economy)



• On average, the respondents surveyed work 0.6 more hours every week because of the benefits mobiles deliver

• 29% work from home at least some of the time

• Nearly 15% would work fewer hours if they were not able to work remotely.

Deloitte Access Economics says the analysis and modelling is informed by new modelling of the drivers of productivity, based on data from 37 countries over 30 years, as well as a survey of 1000 Australians less likely to be working, or less likely to be working full-time.

Specifically, it included part-time workers, parents of young children (under the age of five), individuals with a disability, people living in rural or remote areas, young people (aged 16-24), those considering retirement in the next five years, and carers of the long-term ill or individuals with a disability.

The analysis and modelling is informed by new modelling of the drivers of productivity, based on data from 37 countries over 30 years, as well as a survey of 1000 Australians less likely to be working, or less likely to be working full-time.

Specifically, it included part-time workers, parents of young children (under the age of five), individuals with a disability, people living in rural or remote areas, young people (aged 16-24), those considering retirement in the next five years, and carers of the long-term ill or individuals with a disability.

AMTA Chair Matthew Lobb said that mobile technologies had progressed significantly since their introduction three decades ago and the next wave of emerging new technology – the Internet of Things, mobile wallets and autonomous cars – will continue to grow in coming years.

“It is estimated that globally around 5 billion mobile devices are in use, and with the rise of the IoT this is anticipated to grow to 6.4 billion in 2016 and 20.8 billion by 2020. Australia must ready itself for the opportunities this will deliver.

“It is clear that mobile will continue shaping the way Australians communicate, work and interact. Harnessing the potential of new and existing technologies will be important for securing Australia’s economic growth and living standards in the future.”

Deloitte Access Economics partner Ric Simes said: “Mobile has had a transformative impact on both productivity and labour force participation which, along with population, are two of the ‘three Ps’ we need to get right in terms of driving Australia’s future economic growth.

“Mobile allows employees to make more productive use of time, work more efficiently with productivity-enhancing tools such as mobile apps, and also allows more people to work, facilitates working more paid hours, and allows people to stay engaged and connected, thereby improving participation in the workforce.”

Simes said reducing barriers to employment can “open up a new set of opportunities for people in these groups, and the flexibility offered by mobile is a real enabler here”.

“Just as the benefits to date have been significant and would have been unimaginable 20 years ago, there are still many areas and new mobile-enabled technologies – think driverless cars – that will further shape the way Australians communicate, work and interact, that will disrupt and revolutionise, and that will also drive future economic growth.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. 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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