Social issues

Are Robots Stealing Your Jobs?

– by Sophia Joyce

A new report has been released that warns up to 70 per cent of current Australian jobs could be at risk over the next few decades with the current wave of automation sweeping across the workplace.

Over the past few decades we have seen many jobs taken over by technology, such as bank tellers replaced with ATM’s, factory workers replaced with machinery and checkout operators replaced with self service checkouts.

But which jobs will be affected in the future?

The Committee of Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) has revealed in a report that the world is on a very new but different industrial revolution that needs planning to ensure the Australian economy doesn’t get left behind.

CEDA head Stephen Martin says, “the pace of technological advancement in the last 20 years has been unprecedented and that pace is likely to continue for the next 20 years.”SBS

Automation has already replaced some jobs in service, agriculture, mining and manufacturing industries, but other areas such as the health sector have largely been untouched by technological change so far.

Other jobs that might resist automation influence are occupations that require high levels of social, technical and creative intelligence.

Doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers and information communication and technology employees are least likely to be affected by the changes, but jobs that could be left behind are accountants, receptionists, newspaper reporters and telemarketers.

The rise of automation will of course create unemployment but new jobs could arise such as robot repair, software development, engineering, design, maintenance, support or training.

Foundation for Young Australians chief executive Jan Owen says young people are not prepared for working in an environment with around 70 per cent of Australian jobs being at risk.

She says an alarming amount of university and TAFE students are studying in the wrong areas that will not survive automation.

“Nearly 60 per cent of students at university and nearly 70 per cent at TAFE were studying jobs that will be automated.”

Higher education must play a part in giving people professional and vocational skills, but also the mindset of innovative change.

Ms Owen says that students should be preparing themselves for a job that will open up in the future such as health care and aged care sectors, as well as the technological side.Businesswoman Surrounded by Robots

But the Australian government must plan and invest in the right areas otherwise we will be left behind says CEDA head Stephen Martin.

“The Government must lead the way with clear and detailed education, innovation and technology policies that are funded adequately.”

Communication Minister Malcolm Turnbull says that digital technologies are one of the fastest growing parts of the economy, demanding a further 100,000 workers over the next six years.

But ultimately robots could drive a social revolution, and you’re most likely to be working side by side with a robot before it takes your job, if you aren’t already.

Photo Credits: Featured Image by Flickr/Pinadd; Machine Coding Image by SBS; Woman and Machine Image by Blutgruppe/Corbis

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