The insurance industry has feared that jobs might be lost to automation for some time, and now new data from Forrester suggests the Australian job market could shrink by 11%, or 1.5 million workers, by 2030.
Forrester's latest report analysed 391 occupations tracked by the Australia Bureau of Statistics and grouped them into 12 automation categories sharing common skills and activities. As automation becomes more advanced, the report expects that some jobs will be lost, new jobs created (1.7 million by 2030), and some transformed into the gig economy. Those who cannot adapt will leave the traditional workforce entirely.
The report found that employees in finance, accounting and procurement who perform highly structured administrative tasks are most at risk, with a million expected to be eliminated due to automation.
It also found that 1.2 million cross-domain knowledge workers will be safe due to the diverse skills their jobs require, such as identifying context and processing highly variable inputs. The need for superior human physical communication abilities and empathy will also protect many human-touch workers.
Moreover, Forrester's data suggests that demand for technical skills will boost the ranks of digital elites by 33%, and 6% of Australians will seek to align personal values and lifestyles with work.
“Some of the biggest challenges that firms face in embracing automation technologies relate to culture and change management,” said Forrester principal analyst Sam Higgins.
“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.”