Published on May 31, 2016

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The world’s largest electronics manufacturer has announced 60,000 workers will be replaced with robots in just one of its factories.robopocalypse

Taiwanese company Foxconn makes parts for Apple, Samsung, Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony products and employs nearly one million people across all operations.  It has a chequered workplace health and safety past, long scrutinised due to ongoing reports of poor working conditions.

News of the workforce reduction is seen by many as evidence of the increasing threat mechanisation and computerisation has on low-skilled, low-paid jobs.

The NSW Parliamentary Research Service, Committee for Economic Development Australia and CSIRO have all released reports in the past 12 months outlining the possible future for Australia’s workforce.

Spoiler alert – it’s going to be tough for a lot of people.

robot cook

Gigabyte gourmet. Source: RT

Not only are robotic factory workers making news, so too is Australia Post and Amazon’s foray into drone mail and package delivery, rendering posties and delivery drivers a relic of the past.

Estimates range from 12 to 50 per cent of jobs will be lost to robots.  Different regions and industries face different threat levels.

Regions and industries with a strong focus on manufacturing and manual, repetitive labour are most at risk.  Jobs like factory workers, builders and labourers are likely to go.  Lower level banking and finance workers like account clerks and bank tellers have the highest risk of all workers.

Jobs historically seen as a rite of passage for young workers are also in the firing line.  Already, self-serve checkouts in major supermarkets outnumber traditional checkouts.  But advances in technology will also take a toll on jobs in fast food restaurants and cafes.

Skilling for the future

Jobs requiring complex reasoning or fine motor skills are not likely to be mechanised in the near future.  As development of true artificial intelligence remains elusive, the brain power of people is still required to make decisions based on years of learning, reasoning and cultural understanding.

Similarly, the services economy also provides opportunities.  From massage therapists to chefs, jobs that require responsive interaction are relatively safe, as are management level jobs and those in the creative industries.

Download these reports to find out more about Australia’s jobs of the future: