Future of work in the digital economy

RMIT University

Thursday, 10 December, 2020

Future of work in the digital economy

Industry leaders and international academics examine the impact of COVID-19 on the digital economy and analyse the critical skills required to drive this accelerated digital transformation.

A new report from RMIT says that the disruption caused by COVID-19 has shone a light on Industry 4.0, making it clear that people and society matter as much as technology.

While automation of jobs continues to remove the human element in repetitive and unsafe work, new jobs will flourish in areas including systems design, modelling and programming, intelligent data analytics and machine learning.

According to Professor Aleksandar Subic, Deputy Vice-Chancellor College of Science, Engineering and Health & Vice President Digital Innovation at RMIT, the number of new jobs created is projected to outline any decline resulting from automation. He says maintaining a positive balance, avoiding major disruption and societal pain is dependent on collaboration.

Subic believes industry, government and the education sector all have a role to play in creating the workforce of the future.

Jeff Connolly, Chairman and CEO of Siemens ANZ, says digitisation technologies and skills hold the key to Australia’s prosperity, delivering the resilience needed to ably cope with events such as the recent pandemic.

Connolly believes we already have the technology available to solve the world’s most challenging problems. He sees the mission as getting that technology — and the skills needed to use it — into the hands of innovative and enthusiastic minds so they can create real and positive impact. He says Australian industries can compete with the best in the world, as long as they have people coming through the entire education continuum with fit-for-purpose skills who are ready to tackle the needs of the future.

Dr Bronwyn Evans, CEO of Engineers Australia, believes multidisciplinary skills must be fostered under Industry 4.0, with familiar concepts being integrated into all projects including: mobile devices, IoT platforms, advanced cyber-physical systems, augmented reality, smart sensors, big data analysis and advanced processing.

The report asserts that global partnerships are the path to solving global challenges with a critical need to apply a lens when working to bridge industry and educational facilities including universities.

The full report is available for download here.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Touchr

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