50% of jobs to be lost, changed by technology in 15 years

CHANGING SKILLS: Many jobs have already been replaced by automation.
CHANGING SKILLS: Many jobs have already been replaced by automation.

SCIENCE fiction could soon become a reality on the Sunshine Coast, with about 50% of jobs impacted by technology in the next 10-15 years.

A report on the future of Australia's workforce found numerous jobs in Sunshine Coast and Noosa local government areas had a moderate to high likelihood of being lost to technological advancements.

The Committee for Economic Development of Australia report predicts a high probability technology could replace more than five million Australian jobs within 15 years.

But Mooloolaba Business and Tourism president David Mares, who owns five drycleaning businesses in Queensland and NSW, is sceptical of CEDA's figures.

While he saw changes in the way signs were created, from manually to using computer graphics during his time in the signwriting industry, he said little had changed while he had been working in drycleaning.

CEDA's report found widespread computerisation of normal human jobs was expected to expand competition through reducing consumer costs and worker incomes.

Another part of what has been dubbed the new industrial revolution is globalisation, where workers across the world can use technology to perform jobs in remote locations.

A new report from the Foundation for Young Australians found more than 90% of the current workforce would need digital skills to communicate and find information to perform their roles in the next two to five years.

Sunshine Coast Council mayor Mark Jamieson said the council had to consider the effects automation could have within the next two decades as part of its future planning.

He said the council needed to build a pipeline of employment opportunities and encourage investment.

An example of the council's tech-savvy side finding work for employees is the truck-mounted radars used to assess road pavement conditions.

A council spokesman said the radars picked up the roughness and percentage of cracks of the surfacing layer and the depth of gravel pavement layers and crossroad services.

"This data is used in assessing which roads should be resurfaced as well as the selection of treatment types for pavement rehabilitation," he said.

CEDA chief Stephen Martin believes innovation and reskilling mature age workers are vital to addressing the rapidly changing employment scene.

He suggested a Danish scheme where people were trained in professions the economy needed instead of participating in work-for-the-dole projects.

But Professor Martin said new jobs and industries would emerge if Australia planned and invested in the right areas.

Although the Federal Government has allocated $190 million over four years to drive workplace innovation, Prof Martin said more money was needed.

Topics:  automation career employment jobs technology

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