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The future of work in Queensland to 2030: Evolution or revolution? Discussion paper

Jobs Queensland was established by the Queensland Government as a statutory entity to provide independent strategic advice on future skills requirements, workforce planning and development issues and apprenticeships and traineeships. The Honourable Shannon Fentiman, Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development has requested Jobs Queensland explore the future of work and the possible implications for employment and skills policy within Queensland. As Queensland moves further into the 21st century, differing viewpoints are emerging on the future of work. New contributions to the debate are published on an almost daily basis by academics, governments, think tanks, not-for-profits and the corporate sector alike. A range of views are being presented. Some are highly optimistic – ‘technology will solve all our problems’ and others highly pessimistic – ‘robots are going to take our jobs’. The work that Jobs Queensland has undertaken to date suggests that the subject is more complex. While technology is considered by many as the major factor influencing the future of work and the workforce, it is but one of three drivers of change. These three drivers comprise technology impacts; demographic and social changes; and legal, institutional and policy influences (Figure 1). The environment in which these drivers interact is often referred to as the ‘political economy’. Globalisation, another theme also discussed widely in the associated literature, is both cause and effect of these three drivers.