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Retail employees at risk of augmentation not automation

Australian workers are feeling the effects of emerging technologies across industries as jobs are augmented by technology at an unprecedented rate.

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According to the latest Technology Impacts on the Australian Workforce report, 2.7 million Australian jobs are at risk from automation over the next 15 years, but in retail and wholesale trade, the number of jobs at risk is 458,000, with roles more subject to augmentation than automation.

Workers who fill shelves are in the most automatable role with an estimated 37,000 people at risk, while technical sales representatives are in the most augmentable role with the potential to augment 8,000 people.

However, the report prepared by AI work analytics platform Faethm and professional association for Australia’s technology sector, ACS, states that more than twice as many roles could be created if Australia invests in its workforce.

“In addition to occupations and skills requirement forecasts, we explore the degree to which imbalances might exist between the adaptability and future-readiness of workers across industries,” ACS CEO Andrew Johnson said.

“The report outcomes provide deep insights for businesses to inform future workforce development plans, as well as for policy makers to maximise the participation rate of all citizens in the opportunities afforded by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

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Faethm’s predictions were based on Australian Census data with employment classifications mapped to the company’s job taxonomy of over 1,500 job families to enable like-for-like comparison of the nation’s workforce data. The 1,511 job families defined in Faethm’s modelling cover 244 attributes such as abilities, knowledge, skills matched with human abilities defined by over 20,000 job tasks to create a matrix measuring each industry’s exposure to automation.

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