Job losses are a big topic in the future of work and many industries have been found to be at risk.
The Committee for Economic Development of Australia found in June that more than five million Australian jobs, almost 40 per cent were at risk of disappearing in the next 10 to 15 years due to computerisation and automation. The report notes:
“While we have seen automation replace some jobs in areas such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing, other areas where we are likely to see change are, for example, the health sector, which to date has remained largely untouched by technological change.”
This backs up the Oxford Martin School’s 2013 study finding 47 per cent of jobs in the United States are at risk of being automated using artificial intelligence.
Futurist Thomas Frey recently identified 101 jobs which may no longer exist in 2030 as a result of changes caused by driverless cars, flying drones, 3D Printers, contour crafting, big data and artificial intelligence, mass energy storage, and robots.
However these job losses don’t have to result in more unemployment. Auckland Airport’s cleaning company OCS recently purchased the first robotic cleaners to be used for commercial cleaning in New Zealand. The robots are designed to be faster, use 85% less water and cleaning solution, and be more effective at eliminating germs. They are also not expected to result in job losses with the company stating:
"Employees will benefit from the new technology, being able to take on higher skilled roles such as programming and maintenance of the equipment, while the robots take over the large-scale routine cleaning tasks that typically consume many hours of manual labour."
Where do you see the opportunities for new work coming from? What will best ensure we have a highly skilled, resilient workforce to tackle new technology?
Read more about issues like this in our Technology issues paper.