I watched Four Corners as its show “Future Proof” caught my attention in its 4 July 2016 episode.
I am often asked, where are the jobs of the future. What will stay, what will go and what will be new?
Two trends we are seeing a marked increase in, that will drive the future of work, are casualisation and globalisation.
Four Corners provided a succinct interpretation of the changing face of the job market.
GEOFF THOMPSON was the journalist who reported on the topic.
STEPHEN MARTIN CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CEDA: What we did was apply an analysis to with all things being equal what will be the likelihood of jobs disappearing in Australia over the next 10 years, and what we found is something like 40 per cent of current jobs as they are structured at the moment is likely, are likely to disappear, but that in regional areas that could be as high as 60 per cent.
Let’s look at the trend in the casualisation of the work force.
As the current census results are trickling in, it will be interesting to see how much of our population is now in the “casual” workforce camp. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, we currently have approximately 25% of our workforce working casually. While female casuals have stabilised, the growth in male casuals in our workforce has grown from 14% in the early ’00’s to 21% in 2013 and youth casuals sit at almost 40% of those aged 25 or under working on a casual basis.
JIM STANFORD, CENTRE FOR FUTURE WORK, AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE: There’s no doubt from the hard numbers that the average quality and security of work in Australia has deteriorated over the last few years. We see the growth of what you might call precarious work in all kinds of forms. Part-time work, temporary work, casualisation. What that means is for more Australians work is increasingly insecure, they don’t know when they’re going to be working, they don’t know if they’ll have enough work, and the average pay and compensation of work has declined.
GEOFF THOMPSON reports “It’s a demand that new companies like Airtasker are cashing in on. From an office in Sydney’s CBD the web-based business connects people who need a job done with others prepared to bid for it. So far more than half a million people have used the service to create $40 million worth of work. Additionally, in an increasingly global competition for work, technology is overcoming geography.
This, in essence, is the globalisation trend and I see it’s moving rapidly. While countries are closing their borders and immigration policies are becoming more conservative, people from developing countries are finding ways to improve their standard of living by accessing opportunities globally without leaving home. No longer do individuals from India, the Philippines, Syria, Russia and other struggling countries have to exit to gain a better life. They are now accessing it in their home town within their home country. This is achieved through offering their services at a fraction of the cost of what is charged for those services in the Western World with little differential in service quality.
JON WILLIAMS PwC: So many of today’s jobs will disappear. Really what what’s happening is the same thing that happened to blue collar work in the Seventies and Eighties and Nineties is gonna happen to white collar work in the next ten to fifteen years.
It is through outsourcing companies such as Upwork, o-Desk, Fiverr, 99Designs and Australian company, Freelancer that services can be rendered the world over often at a fraction of the cost of trade in the West.
I have researched and secured services through such channels. Through Upwork you can gain a data entry clerk for AUD9 per hour. The same in Australia would start at $15 per hour for a trainee and generally the rate would sit at $22 – $27 per hour. This is highly attractive for SMEs however we have seen wholesale departments from the larger companies move offshore, from call centres to IT/Software development, engineering design/drafting (the majority of the NBN has been designed offshore) to book-keeping functions.
Freelancer.com, has almost 20 million people around the world bidding for jobs that can be done over the internet.” MATT BARRIE CEO, FREELANCER.COM (2012) comments “Chances are, any job you can think of can be done with a computer, which means anyone anytime of day on the other side of the world potentially can do it for you for a fraction of the cost”.
JAN OWEN CEO, FOUNDATION FOR YOUNG AUSTRALIANS states “The challenge for 4.3 million young Australians is not the person sitting next to you in school, it’s actually the 750 million young people in the global region. We need to insure that we’ve got a generation of young people who can really compete in that environment.”
I have witnessed the changes. The key to being competitive in a global playing field will be specialisation and expertise. When a high degree of specialisation is required, particularly associated with the local landscape, this will be the key to job security for Australians amidst globalisation.
I have seen corporates across sectors such as agriculture, mining, utilities, construction, ship and submarine repair import labour and trade in bulk from overseas, so even trade and general labour, is at risk. It will be the local “home and personal help” services that will be secure. Trades including home based electricians, mechanics, plumbers, painters plus the handyman, lawn and landscaping and house cleaning businesses that will be secure. Such roles along with personal services for our ageing population will also remain amidst the globalisation trend.
GEOFF THOMPSON: The jobs most vulnerable to computerisation include accountants, lawyers and real estate agents. Demand for beauticians, personal trainers, manicurists and intensive care nurses has been booming. The number of baristas in Australia tripled between 2006 and 2011.
BERNARD SALT Demographer at KPMG states: There are other jobs that are expanding and these would be jobs in personal services for example or in technology, or in healthcare or in aged care, childcare for example. The nature of work is changing, some jobs are diminishing, other jobs are evolving.
Acknowledgement goes to Four Corners for the content of this article and series. The full episode of Four Corners can be viewed and transcript found at:
Article written by Maree Herath, Director of Geelong Recruitment Agency, Harvest Recruitment.