A new report has found that nearly half of all Australian jobs will be effected by a ‘digital disruption’. Slated to play out over the next two decades, the firm PricewaterhouseCoopers says that the disruption will likely require the large-scale adaptation of once-useful skill sets.

The report, titled the ‘The STEM Imperative: Future Proofing Australia’s Workforce‘, focused on recommending the greater enrolment and education emphasis on traditional STEM topics (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). With widespread changes set to affect workers around the world, PwC have advised that automation will significantly alter the workforce.

According to the analysis, more than half a million workers stand to have their occupations ‘digitally disrupted’ by automated processes and increasing technological innovation.

Over the next twenty years, about 44 per cent, or 5.1 million jobs, will likely be incorporated into automated, computer-based processes. Compared with the extraordinary growth in STEM heavy fields, PwC have advised that the nation begin to re-assert its educational values.

PricewaterhouseCoopers chief executive Luke Sayers has advised a multi-faceted approach towards increasing STEM participation.

“We need to come together through some sort of STEM summit and put all the various parties’ thoughts, ideas and perspectives into a melting pot,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald. “Within that there will be responsibilities for government – the right policy settings, tax flow-ons, capital related issues – as well as things for the education departments and things for business to do.”

Labor representative Tim Watts told the SMH that the key to success could be found in the emphasis on ‘computational thinking’.

“We shouldn’t think that STEM subjects are a stand-alone silo,” Mr Watts explained. “We need computational thinking to be part of all Australian students’ education. If you look at the United Kingdom, they have incorporated computational thinking into their curriculum, making it mandatory for all students from year 1.”
Below is a list of those jobs considered most at risk of ‘digital disruption’ over the next two decades:

Occupation                                                 No. workers affected
Accounting clerks/bookkeepers                263 348
Checkout operators/cashiers                    128 745
General office admin workers                  284 171
Sales assistants and salespersons           698 780
Financial/insurance admin workers     128 425


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