Megatrends are shaping the economy and the workforce

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    Digital transformation

    Digitalisation, automation, and emergence of artificial intelligence is a key megatrend that opens up significant productivity enhancing opportunities, and brings with it a critical skills agenda. Some jobs will be lost, and many others will change in nature. The whole workforce needs to be digitally literate. On top of that, higher level digital skills are in increasing demand. The power of artificial intelligence, as well as the associated risks, has come under particular scrutiny as its capability and applications unfold.

    If Australia is going to take advantage of this trend a focus on the economy-wide implications is a key issue for Jobs and Skills Australia to analyse and advise on and work with the Jobs and Skills Councils, especially the Future Skills Organisation, as well as other key partners. Significant skill gaps exist in this area and the implications, for example, for our education and training pipeline and for lifelong learning, can only be expected to increase over time.

    Technology and associated digital skills are a key enabler in meeting the opportunities of this megatrend.

    Clean energy and the net zero transformation

    The clean energy transformation is another megatrend that has been a major focus of Jobs and Skills Australia’s work in 2023. The transition opens up significant opportunities for Australia with its abundant renewable energy resources and a significant construction effort required in the near-term. It also brings with it many challenges to confront, particularly for people and communities affected by the transition away from fossil fuels. The development of the skills required for successful transition is a key enabler within a broader transition policy framework. Stakeholders have consistently emphasised Australia will need to lift the pipeline of VET-trained workers, including in regional areas, to meet the needs of the clean energy transition.

    The growth of the care and support economy

    The growth of the care and support economy associated with an ageing and increasingly diverse population, a transition from informal to formal care, and increased citizens’ expectations of government, is another important megatrend. This area is already experiencing skills shortages with employment in the care and support economy projected to grow strongly in future.

    The health care sector is subject to similar pressures and growth expectations, with the nursing occupations experiencing significant skill shortages and projected strong growth in demand.