The future of work in Australia

How is work changing across the nation?


The future of work in Australia is changing. Industry, business owners and workers alike face a raft of changes and challenges.

Rising automation, the decline of low-skill jobs and the rise in science and technology are having impacts across the country. Business owners undertake a delicate balancing act to become more and more cost effective in the effort to win a slice of the consumer pie.  Students and workers are faced with rising automation and a tight job market that makes linear career progression almost unheard of.

Accurate employment projections are therefore becoming more important as the future of work in Australia and across the globe changes.

The Industry Employment Projections 2017 report, produced by the Australian Government Department of Employment, (DoE) indicates the direction we can expect employment to come from in the next five years to May 2022.

We have known for a while now that the service industry is continuing to grow, while employment declines are expected in: manufacturing; agriculture; electricity, gas, water and waste services, and; forestry and fishing.

In fact, the DoE state that health care and social assistance sector is projected to experience the largest growth in the coming five years. The DoE projects job growth in this sector to increase by 250,500.

The next three industries slated to experience the highest growth are: professional, scientific and technical services (126,400); construction (120,700) and; education and training (116,200).



NB: ‘Other’ includes Financial and Insurance Services, Arts and Recreation Services, Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services; Other Services; Information Media and Telecommunications; Mining; and Wholesale Trade.

The DoE attributes the large projected growth the top four industries to a number of reasons:

In the health care and social assistance sector reasons include the recent full implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Australia’s aging population and the increase in demand for child care and home care services.

The professional, scientific and technical services sector is projected to see a substantial rise in employment as a result of strong growth in the computer system design and related services sector, and the architectural, engineering and technical services sector, and the legal and accounting services sector.

The construction industry is set to experience employment gains as a result of infrastructure investment across Australia, seeing employment in the engineering sector transition from the mining industry into the construction sector.

Employment and training will see growth due to growth in both the international education sector and the adult education sector. The school aged population is expected to continue growing, also underpinning growth in the education sector.

The accommodation and food services sector is expected to experience moderate growth as the expansion of the middle class in Asia, brings tourist dollars to our door. The local demand for café and restaurant services is also expected to grow.

The retail trade sector is likewise projected to experience moderate growth as population growth continues. The DoE also state that slowed consumer spending and intense competition has resulted in retailers reducing staff-revenue ratios in order to remain competitive. However, the DoE project department store employment to fall over the next five years.

The mining sector looks to experience modest growth of 2.4% over the next five years, while the manufacturing industry continues to decline. The DoE project a decline of 38,300 jobs over the five years to May 2022.

For more on the report, visit


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