Nearly half of all jobs in Australia will be lost within 20 years, because of automation and computerisation.
Incredible, isn’t it? But that’s PWC’s forecast in its recent report, The STEM Imperative. If this isn’t alarming enough, research commissioned by The Foundation for Young Australians found that 60% of students in Australia are studying for jobs in which the vast majority will be lost or radically changed by automation.
And it isn’t just Australia that’s been affected in this way. Oxford University academics Carl Frey and Michael Osborne recently predicted in their study The Future of Work that computerisation may cause the loss of 47% of total all US jobs. Meanwhile, a follow-up study by Deloitte found that 35% of British jobs will be lost for the same reason.
So are we all going to have to face up to unemployment on a simply massive scale? Not quite, thankfully. There is hope, and it’s called the “circular economy”. The circular economy differs from the traditional linear economy of “make, use then dispose”. Instead, it is regenerative, keeping resources in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them, then constantly recovering and regenerating products and materials.
I recently heard former international sailor Ellen MacArthur talk about her new work promoting the circular economy through the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and I’ve also heard Candice Quartermain of Circular Economy Australia talk passionately about its opportunity. I am totally convinced by its power.
The important point to realise is this: the circular economy is not some future event. It is happening right now, and it’s every bit as inevitable as the loss of jobs through automation. Unilever, Cisco, Kingfisher, Philips and Renault are already global partners of Ellen MacArthur’s foundation, committed to testing and piloting circular economy practices on a huge scale. In fact all Unilever’s factories have already achieved zero non-hazardous waste to landfill, and in the process have saved €200 million and created jobs.
That’s how powerful the circular economy is.
So we have two mega-trends – massive job losses as a result of computerisation, and the job opportunities presented by the circular economy. Those people, businesses and countries that understand the power of these mega-trends will be the ones who will benefit the most.
Everyone, from parents, school children, graduates, employees and business leaders, and especially political leaders, needs to think about how these two trends are going to change our lives and what opportunities they present.
Then they need to act. Fast.
Freshwater Group is a renewable energy recruitment business that focuses on all renewable and low carbon emission, energy efficiency and disruptive clean technology businesses as well as energy infrastructure, storage and management.
- Posted by Freshwater Group
- On June 22, 2016
- 0 Comment