Staying ahead of automation


Tuesday, 26 February, 2019


Staying ahead of automation

With over half of Australian workers already having their job responsibilities changed as a result of automation, recruitment company Hays suggests upskilling is the best way to avoid being impacted.

In an online poll of almost 2000 people in Australia, 18% said automation has already impacted their job ‘significantly’, with their duties changing or their role becoming redundant, and 32% said their job has been impacted ‘partially’, with some tasks automated and non-routine duties increasing.

Although 50% said automation has had no impact on their day-to-day job responsibilities so far, Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand, recommended people take action and do not become complacent.

“To prepare, consider what your job would look like if all the routine and repetitive duties you perform were automated. Then determine how you could fill the time freed up by the automation of these tasks in a way that adds greater strategic value to your employer.”

Upskilling in higher-value areas can help workers remain relevant and employable, said Deligiannis.

“But don’t just sit back and wait for automation to knock on your door. Be proactive and embrace change by exploring relevant automation tools and their practical application for your role. Set up a meeting with your boss to discuss these new tools and how they could be of use in your role. Then present your plan for how you can focus your time on higher-value tasks if your routine and repetitive job responsibilities were automated.”

The company also recently published the Hays Jobs Report, outlining the jobs that are in high demand in the first half of 2019. It stated demand is driven by a widening gap between the skills employers want and those candidates possess, several major infrastructure projects are underway or planned across the country, the resources industry has recovered and technology transformations are underway. As a result, employers will be looking to hire highly skilled professionals who perform non-routine tasks that are not subject to automation.

Electricians made the list of the top resources and mining, and trades and labour skill shortfalls. For the former, the report suggested automation may actually be beneficial for some electricians, as OEMs are recruiting auto electricians to modify and update their mobile plant in Western Australia, and they are sought to maintain the mobile fleet to keep the mining industry moving in Queensland. Maintenance needs are also driving demand for trades such as mechanical fitters, boilermakers and electricians, who are are required to keep on top of the maintenance of fixed plant equipment.

In South Australia, the report said, “Electrical Engineers with HV design experience in 11kv to 132kv primary and secondary systems are in high demand since a number of energy sites are currently under construction and connecting to the grid.”

It explained that an increase in solar farm construction in South Australia has seen a number of electricians move away from metropolitan commercial construction projects, causing a shortage of workers for metropolitan projects and wind farms. Demand is predicted to continue given the number of regional projects.

Although some job areas continue to be in high demand, upskilling will help workers ensure their jobs are not threatened by technology such as automation. Hays recommends a number of ways workers can continue to upskill, including joining an industry or professional association and taking relevant courses outside of the workplace.

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

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