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Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go – the Fourth Industrial Revolution and thoughts on the future of work in Australia
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-20, 14:06 authored by Lisa DennyLisa Denny
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) suggests significant transformation of the Australian economy with predictions of ‘technological unemployment’. Combined with other significant economic, demographic and social shifts, it is inevitable that future of work will change. This paper applies industrial revolution scholarship to contribute new empirical insights into the transformation of Australia’s economy between 2006 and 2016 and evaluate Australia’s progress in the 4IR. The paper also introduces gender as a largely missing component in industrial revolution scholarship. Adapting the shift-share method of analysis to ABS Census data, the paper attributes the change in the share of employment and industry restructure over the decade to four factors: national economic growth, industry (re)structure, employment composition, and within industry employment composition. The paper finds that while job growth occurred in the decade to 2016, it was largely driven by a national growth effect associated with increasing consumption and the industry effect associated with the rise of the services sectors and the changing social organisation of care, rather than innovation and technological advancements. Job destruction, on the other hand, is evident in industry sectors associated with the 4IR; the replacement of jobs by automation and artificial intelligence to increase competitiveness and productivity. To transition to the phase of job creation in an industrial revolution, Australia needs socio-political intervention to address four key issues.
Publication titleAustralian Journal of Labour Economics
PublisherCentre for Labour Market Research
Place of publicationAustralia
Rights statementCopyright 2019 The Centre for Labour Market Research (CLMR)