POSITIVE POLICY

National Digital Workforce Plan

The internet and new technologies are massively disrupting the world of work. In June 2015, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia published a report which predicted that as many as five million of the jobs we do today - two out of every five jobs - will be replaced by machines by 2030.

This is particularly acute for the next generation of workers with 70 per cent of young people currently entering the workforce in jobs that will be radically affected by automation.

By 2050, 13 of Australia's 19 industry sectors will be either transformed or gain significant benefit from information and communications technology, according to IBISWorld.

Major economic and employment opportunities are presented by embracing policies that support and encourage tech-fuelled innovation. For example, in the US, experts have found that the technology sector is able to create jobs 25 times faster than the rate experienced by other US industry sectors.

Labor will develop a far reaching blueprint required to tackle the serious skills deficits holding back the sector and preventing us from extracting the great economic advantage that comes from embracing innovation.

Reflecting the huge local and international demand for skills and talent, we need a National Digital Workforce plan that can meet the needs of our startup community. Importantly, our National Digital Workforce Plan will not only focus on deepening the pool of talent available to support our startups – this is also aimed at boosting the digital skills base across the breadth of our economy.

The key priorities of this plan will include:

  • Strengthening the flow of entrants into the workforce who are keen to develop their ICT skills and seek opportunities within our digital economy
  • Improving the quality of ICT teaching in schools, vocational and tertiary education arenas;
  • Strengthening the quality and suitability of tertiary graduates for entry-level positions;
  • Addressing the low levels of representation by female and mature-aged workers within our broader ICT workforce population;
  • Lifting the functional knowledge of ICT within traditional industries and existing companies, to ensure we have a workforce that is capable of quickly adapting to technological change; and
  • Boosting the digital skills within small to medium sized enterprises.

Further information is available here.