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Why 1.5m Australians could be out of work by 2030

  • February 24 2021
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Why 1.5m Australians could be out of work by 2030

By Cameron Micallef
February 24 2021

One and a half million Australians are set to lose their jobs to automation by 2030 as technology overtakes traditional workers, a new report has revealed.

1.5 million Australians will be out of work by 2030

Why 1.5m Australians could be out of work by 2030

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  • February 24 2021
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One and a half million Australians are set to lose their jobs to automation by 2030 as technology overtakes traditional workers, a new report has revealed.

1.5 million Australians will be out of work by 2030

Forrester’s latest report has shown Australia’s workforce will shrink by 11 per cent, with one in two cubical jobs — such as employees in finance, accounting, and procurement who perform highly structured administrative tasks — likely to be the first replaced by automation. 

Physical workers, location-based work and single-domain and function-specific tasks are also likely to be augmented by automation in the short term.

The study also found Australia’s high minimum wage could be a barrier for hiring, with firms said to choose automation over hiring new staff.

“Australia’s  consistently high minimum wage means that some categories of low-skilled roles have already felt the impact of automation,” the report said. 

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According to Forrester, automation will create real change in how we get things done, with business and government told to plan for the transformation of human work.

It stated the changes will come in waves, with the high uncertainty likely to leave many leaders in a difficult position.

“Act too slow, and risk falling behind; act too quickly, and generate unnecessary complexity and confusion,” the report reads. 

“Some of the biggest challenges that firms face in embracing automation technologies relate to culture and change management,” said Sam Higgins, principal analyst at Forrester. 

“It’s critical that policymakers and employers learn how to minimise the number of digital outcasts by measuring the ability of individuals and organisations to adapt to, collaborate with, trust, and generate business results from automation, or else over 1 million Australian workers may be left stranded beyond the next digital divide.”

However, as automation gets more advanced, some jobs will be lost, new ones will be created (1.7 million by 2030), while others will transform into the gig economy.

“Workers unable or unwilling to accept the transition will depart the traditional workforce entirely,” the report states. 

The study also revealed workers with cross-domain knowledge will be harder to replace as automation struggles with processing multiple tasks.

Communication skills and empathy are likely to become two valuable skill sets moving forward, with human-touch workers unlikely to be impacted by automation.

Why 1.5m Australians could be out of work by 2030
1.5 million Australians will be out of work by 2030
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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