Cisco and Oxford Economics release report about the future of Australian ECEC jobs
The newly released Technology & the Future of Australian Jobs report from Cisco and Oxford Economics has examined the impact of technology on workers in a variety of sectors, including education, seeking to understand more about job income effect and possible future changes in skill sets for workers.
Alongside the education sector, seven other key industry subsets of the Australian economy were studied; Mining, Wholesale & Retail, Transport, Healthcare, Finance, Agriculture and Utilities, in line with the anticipated “highly disruptive” employment landscape anticipated in the next ten years as a result of the pace of technological change.
Within the next decade, the authors noted, technological change will be the one element with the greatest potential to deliver significant rewards to the Australian economy through productivity growth. Understandably, as systems and technologies become more efficient, there is likely to be an impact on jobs, with the authors estimating that 630,000 Australian jobs could be displaced by new technologies over the next decade.
The authors examined the impact from three angles, forecasting the impact of the income, displacement and net effect for each sector. Using the Oxford Economics Skills Matching Model, the report delves into the changing skills needs in the workforce as technology causes a displacement effect’ on some occupations, but also creates opportunities in others, via the ‘income effect’.
Education – a view to 2030
Here, the authors said, exists a bright light, adding that “there will never be a substitute for the human connections and impact on learning outcomes that educators can create.”
Notwithstanding the rapid advancements in technology, educators role will remain vital, and artisans in creating personalised learning programs for children based on their individual needs.
The disruption in the education sector, authors said “will come in the form of the need for educators to upskill in digital skill areas such as programming, coding and technical design in order to keep up with the advances in technology, and consequently develop children in these increasingly desired skills to enhance future employment opportunities.”
Educators at all levels, they added, will need to adapt to new teaching and learning methods and utilise technologies to augment their day-to-day practices including a shift in experiential and continuous learning trends.
Key skills and trends
The authors say the most “in demand” skills, in terms of skills employers want that employees lack, are social perceptiveness (which involves being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react the way they do), time management, and judgement and decision making.
More than half of the available talent pool to fill jobs in the education sector “currently lack these necessary skills,” the authors said.
The education sector, with particular reference to early childhood, is one which showed an increase in demand of 5 per cent, a trend which is likely to continue over the coming decade.
Those working in an administrative capacity within the sector, however, are likely to find the coming decade a challenge, the authors highlighted, saying that this subset of education is likely to shrink by 10 per cent over the next decade because a number of administrative functions will be further automated.
Feedback from Mitchell Institute Education Policy Lead, Dr Jennifer Jackson
This research, Dr Jackson said, is “perfectly timed” to follow on from the Productivity Commission’s 15 November announcement of its review of the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development, which named digital literacy as a foundational skill needed to prepare all Australians for the future.
Referencing a core underpinning document of the approved learning frameworks, Dr Jackson said “Digital technologies are both generating new jobs, and creating anxiety about jobs being lost. Cisco’s report shows how technology can be part of the solution to skills gaps, by enabling more people to access learning. Through the Melbourne Declaration, Australia has committed to teaching children and young people to become ‘creative and productive users of technology’. This means learning about and learning through new technologies.”
Ultimately, Dr Jackson said, the report shows the importance of human skills, many of which have their roots in quality early childhood education. Human skills such as critical thinking, negotiation, lifelong learning “are skills that AI can never replace,” she said.
These skills, she continued need to be boosted by education providers at every level, to ensure that all Australians are “work and life ready”.
The full report may be accessed here.