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Job vulnerability in Australia: Where are vulnerable jobs located?: Are we ready for the future of work?

Australia’s jobs are being affected by the rapid innovation in digital technologies. Increasing automation and the greater use of technology at work are constantly changing our work landscape. In addition, other factors such as ageing populations, more flexible work, and a focus on work-life balance are also influencing what our current and future jobs look like. Previous reports examining Australia’s labour market at the national level estimated around 40 per cent to 44 per cent of jobs are highly susceptible to automation in the coming years. While it is true that we may lose some jobs to automation, innovations in digital technologies will also bring about new jobs and change the way current jobs are done. In this report we go beyond the national picture to present our take on how jobs in regions could change as a consequence of greater automation. In the face of continued technological change, Australia’s labour market will have to adapt. To understand how this adaptation needs to occur it is necessary to identify where vulnerable jobs are located., Key findings include: Different regional types have different proportions of jobs vulnerable to automation and also have diverse strengths to adapt to future jobs; Regional cities have the greatest proportion of jobs highly vulnerable to automation, but they also have strengths in innovation and entrepreneurial skills which are necessary to adapt to the changing nature of work; Heartland regions have the smallest proportion of jobs highly vulnerable to automation, however they do not have the strength of technological connectivity to cope with the expected growth of digital jobs; Metropolitan areas have the greatest proportion of low vulnerability jobs and also have technological readiness and connectivity to take advantage of the changing nature of work; Between 2011 and 2016, there was a slight overall shift from high vulnerability jobs to low vulnerability jobs, occurring mostly in metropolitan areas and regional cities; The focus of discussions around the vulnerability of jobs to automation should not only be on job losses but also on how jobs will change, and how regions can be better prepared to manage those changes.