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Skills Forecasts – Cross Sector trends

In preparing the 2018 Skills Forecast, the IRCs that AIS supports directed research and analysis of each industry to determine prevalent issues and future trends. This included the 2018 Skills Forecast Survey, which provided stakeholders with an opportunity to give direct feedback to their IRC. We also examined industry reports and more than thirty years of employment data for each industry. Here are the cross-sector trends we identified:

New Technologies and Higher-Order Skills
When asked to rank the top 12 generic skills in order of importance, most of our industries included technology or STEM skills among the top five. Their workforces need to become digitally literate, so they can operate and manage new technologies such as robotics, drones and positioning systems. Developing higher-order skills in critical thinking and problem solving will also ensure an agile and capable workforce ready to adapt to the changing work landscape.

Automation, Big Data, and Internet of Things (IoT)
Another significant aspect of technological advances is the automation of processes. Autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles and systems are already being piloted in Australia. Soon, they will be more fully deployed for scientific research, emergency response, monitoring, diagnostic and maintenance services. Industrial operations will also be remotely conducted and managed through such systems, which will expedite and streamline tasks. Automation also allows robots to be deployed in highly hazardous tasks or areas which will override human intervention and, in turn, eradicate humans’ exposure to dangers of high risk areas.

The use of technological devices also supplies a huge amount of data, Big Data, which is derived from devices connected to digital networks, software, and sensors. This phenomenon, which is known as the Internet of Things (IoT), provides unique opportunities as well as challenges for industries across the communication, transportation, security, and energy sectors. We now have the means to analyse data in real-time to assess systems and operations and optimise customer service. Capitalising on such data requires sophisticated digital skills in information management and analytics.

Cyber Security and Regulatory Framework
Technological advances are a challenge for cyber security. As automation is implemented through the internet and inter-connected systems, there is a growing risk of exposure to cybercrimes. Such crimes can compromise systems, operations and processes and lead to economic damage and business disruptions. As well as building workforce skills in network security, governments and industries are having to implement changes in existing policies and regulatory frameworks.

Environmental Sustainability
In accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016, Australia has pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions to below 25 per cent by 2030. In line with this vision, industries have implemented plans and policies to reduce their CO2 levels and greenhouse gas emissions. Industries have also invested in research plans and experimental projects to decrease their carbon footprint. This trend is especially prominent in industries associated with energy and transportation.

Workforce profile and staff retention
Australia’s ageing demographic profile is a growing concern for the economy. Most industries we consulted cited an ageing workforce as one of the top three reasons for current skills shortages. Industries are addressing this issue through succession planning, workforce development, mentoring and other knowledge-sharing initiatives. Industry recognises that older workers must be upskilled and empowered to navigate technological changes and new workers must be suitably trained and mentored to guard against the loss of vital industry knowledge.
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View your industry's IRC 2018 Skills Forecasts