Six Australian workplace megatrends of the future

Nearly three quarters of all jobs in Australia will be fundamentally changed by automation over the next two decades.

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But rather than be fearful, workers - and employers - should see this as an opportunity to plan a prosperous and innovative Australian economy, according to a new report by Australia's pre-eminent science and research organisation. But such opportunity requires action.

" Rather than be fearful [of change], we should see this as an opportunity to plan a prosperous and innovative Australian economy." 

Patrick Maes, General Manager, Strategy & planning, GTSO, ANZ

The report, 'Tomorrow's Digitally Enabled Workforce' suggests the rate of jobs lost to automaton in the decade to 2035 will be second only to the tumult of the GFC - but last 10 times as long.

Written by the CSIRO 's Data61 unit, supported by the Commonwealth Department of Employment, ANZ, the Australian Computer Society and The Boston Consulting Group, the report finds technology and automation will significantly change 73 per cent of roles.



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Infographic by Leigh Cohen, ANZ


The report provides deep insight into the megatrends set to develop over the next two decades which will shape the workplace of the future. Each addresses a separate but important development.

Everything's connected

Modern computing speeds mean devices can perform many tasks quicker and safer than ever before, surpassing humans in efficiency and transforming supply chains and redefining jobs.

No boundaries

Jobs of the future will be more flexible, agile and connected as technology changes employment markets. Freelancing is a large and growing model around the world and the Australian market will inevitably fall in line.

Wanted: entrepreneurs

By 2035 workers will need to create their own roles, requiring entrepreneurial skills that will be increasingly important for everyone from small business operators to large companies.

Demographic dilemma

The retirement age in Australia is likely to expand as population and life expectancy grow, the report says. Workplaces will be home to increasingly diverse age groups and cultural backgrounds likely requiring updated human-resource strategies.

The rising bar

Entry-level positions will require increasing amounts of skill, resulting in great demand for education and competition for labour. Australia's workforce is competing on a global scale, so the country's skills development approach also needs to compete at a global level.

And a little something extra

Real job growth is likely to be in services, the report says, as the knowledge economy heats up. Besides the often quoted STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) skills, social skills and emotional intelligence will become increasingly valued in workplaces, including a broad understanding of ethical issues and communication styles.


The report has bought focus to the opportunities and skills required to help Australia take advantage of the digital future and beyond. It highlights the need to ensure no one is left behind by the pace of change.

It is important for Australia to make a contribution to the development of both the talent and industries of the future, collaborating with all partners in the business ecosystem.

Many of the challenges this report raises cannot be solved by government, academia or industry alone. We must continue to build the collaborative networks between these groups to tackle the challenges created by rapidly changing technologies.

Patrick Maes is General Manager, Strategy & planning, GTSO at ANZ. You can find him on Twitter here (@DrsPatrickMaes) and on LinkedIn here.

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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