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Australia’s workforce must adapt to survive automation

According to a new report, 4.6 million Australian jobs are at high risk of automation and the nation’s workforce must adapt to survive.

The report entitled Economy in Transition: Startups, innovation, and a workforce for the future by StartupAUS stated: “Profound impact will be felt in sectors from manufacturing and supply chain management to research, analysis and customer service”.

According to research by Frey and Osbourne from the Oxford Martin Institute, the jobs least affected will be those that involve high levels of human creativity or social intelligence. Examples might include finance and managerial roles which involve negotiation skills, or health or caregiving roles where human interaction is important for patient care.

In the medium term, Australia is expected to be slightly less affected by automation than the US and below the OECD average, according to StartupAUS. However, the number of jobs at high risk is approximately 4.6 million, with a further 2.1 million at medium risk.


StartupAUS has cited some factors that will help the Australian workforce survive automation, in particular the development of innovation hubs and relevant skills.

“When it comes to innovation hubs, Australia is underperforming,” said the report.

“If we are successful in establishing a strong reputation globally as a vibrant startup and innovation ecosystem we will benefit from the dynamism of innovation hubs, and acquire a significant amount of the talent required in the medium term (both local and imported).”

The report continues to state that skills in entrepreneurship and business building, technology and science and research will become increasingly important, whether the workforce attains them through education or immigration.


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