Robots and automation to replace 40 per cent of today’s jobs so workers need to re-skill now

April 3, 2016

PROBLEM-solving, digital and social skills are a worker’s best defence against the impending technological revolution set to disrupt the way we work.
Almost 40 per cent of jobs that exist in the nation today have a moderate to high likelihood of disappearing in the next 10 to 15 years, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) finds.
Many jobs of the future will require new sets of skills.
CEDA report Australia’s Future Workforce? identifies five emerging technologies as responsible for the coming changes: cloud services, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, artificial intelligence and robotics, and immersive communications.
Telstra Corporation chief scientist Hugh Bradlow, writing for the report, says the effects of technology on the workplace have already been significant but will be dwarfed by those to come.
Jobs that require routine measurement, operation, pattern recognition or manipulation are most likely to be automated — for example, couriers will be replaced by self-driving cars and cytologists who screen patients’ cells for signs of cancer will be replaced by software.
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Google's self-driving prototype car is an example of the future of the transport industry. Picture: AP / Tony Avelar
Google's self-driving prototype car is an example of the future of the transport industry. Picture: AP / Tony AvelarSource:AP
Bradlow says the ability to problem solve, however, will likely be a human skill for many decades.
“Prospects for employment success in the future will be greatly enhanced by the ability to understand business problems and craft solutions that address the issues,” he says.
Digital skills and social skills will also help.
Australian Computer Society chief executive Andrew Johnson says technological skills will be a requirement not only in the ICT space but in almost every job within 20 years.
“We can, and must, be at the cutting edge of innovation, especially in the creative and knowledge economies,” he says.
Career coach Rebecca Fraser, of Rebecca Fraser Consulting, says as technology takes on certain tasks, roles will transform to focus on social skills and human interaction.
“General tasks that can be automated, such as the transactional sales process (and) financial reporting, will be done through automation but the role of the individual employee in that sector is about delivering customer service outcomes and the human interaction that is required,” she says.
“People need to take responsibility for learning and be really focused on continuing to learn and develop the skills.
“If they believe that the change will not impact them, then they will be the most impacted by the change.
“Start looking at your career and ask yourself what may be automated within your career and what you can do to develop new skills that enhance your capabilities.”
Southern Cross Care’s Martyna Wiencierz with resident Bob Wilson. Picture: Calum Robertson
Southern Cross Care’s Martyna Wiencierz with resident Bob Wilson. Picture: Calum RobertsonSource:News Limited
Rebecca Fraser of Rebecca Fraser Consulting says social skills and human interaction will be essential. Picture: Paul Loughnan
Rebecca Fraser of Rebecca Fraser Consulting says social skills and human interaction will be essential. Picture: Paul LoughnanSource:News Corp Australia
Microbiologist Martyna Wiencierz was working in an increasingly-automated profession when she decided to re-skill and landed her job as wellness and lifestyle manager with Southern Cross Care.
Wiencierz says microbiology was traditionally a hands-on industry but processes were becoming more efficient as machines became more sophisticated.
“When I was taught, I identified different types of bacteria by their appearance, colour or smell,” she says.
“Now, scientists rely heavily on machines that are programmed to analyse a recognised profile.”
The Bachelor of Medical Science graduate enrolled in a Masters in Public Health then began working in aged care.
“Health has always been my passion and while the pathology area may be more automated, nothing can replace giving someone your time, your ear and your support, especially in a residential setting,” she says.
“I have gone from a revenue-focused industry to a setting where the resident is the centre of our universe and I couldn’t be happier.”
FIVE JOBS UNLIKELY TO BE AUTOMATED
1. RECREATIONAL THERAPIST
This role is to restore, remediate and rehabilitate a client’s function and independence in everyday activities and promote health. US data finds this role is the least likely to be automated. Occupational therapists are not far behind.
2. SOCIAL WORKERS
Social workers, for example in areas of mental health and substance abuse, have high levels of social interaction and human contact so are not easily replaced by robots or software. Employment in the occupation is forecast to grow from 34,000 in 2014 to 44,400 in 2019.
3. TEACHERS
The need for social interaction is likely to save this job from technological evolution. By November, 2019, Australia is forecast to have 158,300 primary school teachers and 124,700 high school teachers.
4. CHOREOGRAPHERS AND SET DESIGNERS
These two roles require high levels of creativity, something that cannot yet be replicated by a computer. Although not a large occupation to begin with, it not likely to reduce as a result of technological advances.
5. PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS
Although technology will no doubt change the way physicians and surgeons work, humans will still be needed to control the technology in the foreseeable future. About 7200 surgeons are forecast to be working in Australia by November, 2019. They currently earn between $102,000 and $325,000 a year, depending on their specialty.
For more employment news, read the CareerOne section in Saturday’s News Corp Australia metropolitan newspapers

 

Read more at: http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/careers/robots-and-automation-to-replace-40-per-cent-of-todays-jobs-so-workers-need-to-reskill-now/news-story/290d552004d41b261ebadde4177312c0

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