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Building Australia’s future-ready workforce

The nature of work is changing. An extraordinary convergence of digital technologies is creating new roles, augmenting existing ones and rendering others redundant. While workers have proven resilient during previous industrial revolutions, many Australians will be affected by the automation of manual and routine tasks, and the resulting changes in jobs. Preparing Australia’s workforce for a digital future cannot be outsourced or postponed. Virtually all organisations will soon want to consider taking advantage of new digital capabilities such as AI and robotics. However, the biggest inhibitor organisations face is developing the skill level within their workforce to handle these technologies. By understanding employees’ skill levels, strengths and weaknesses, and taking advantage of policies and platforms that support on-the-job training, organisations can start to increase their capabilities now. In doing so, they will also help to future-proof their employees’ careers to ensure they can thrive in tomorrow’s economy. A nationwide effort is needed to persuade more people to embrace digital skills and become confident with technologies that help them achieve progress in their lives. Governments, businesses and academia all have crucial roles to play in this transition; no single entity can do it all., The directions in this report are substantially informed by the Skills Now roundtable convened by Microsoft in Sydney in late 2017. Chaired by Sara Caplan, Chief Executive Officer of PwC Skills for Australia, the event assembled some of the nation’s most respected thought leaders in business, education, technology and start-ups.