NSW workers face AI threat


New South Wales continues to lead Australia’s digital economy, but there are risks to the state’s wider workforce as emerging technologies like artificial intelligence promise to make major changes to jobs and businesses, the ACS Digital Pulse report has found.

Prepared each year by Deloitte Access Economics for ACS, the annual snapshot of the national IT workforce found the state’s tech workforce remained the largest in the country with 348,000 workers, an increase of 5% on the previous year.

While the NSW technology workforce is growing faster than the wider economy, the report warned many existing industries are going to be disrupted by emerging technologies over the rest of the decades with the financial and insurance sector, and the retail and wholesale trades bearing the brunt of changes.

Overall, the ten industries most affected by AI make up 50% of the state’s economy, the report warned.

ACS New South Wales Chair, Cindy Chung said: “It’s great to see New South Wales still leading the nation’s digital workforce with the report showing the sector is still growing strongly.

“But the report also flags what’s at stake as emerging technologies shake up existing businesses which is why ACS proposes a range of measures to help the state and Australia grab the opportunities and meet the challenges ahead.

“In New South Wales, we’re delighted to be working with the state government on initiatives such as the Digital Skills Compact and we’re looking forward to helping the public and private sectors build their capacities to deal with a rapidly changing digital environment.”

“The forward view in this report makes this mandatory reading. New South Wales is leading but not by chance. As the report states, more than ever, diversity and inclusion will be important, as with continuous learning and a systems approach. The skills challenge is a big one and it relies on all hands on deck.”

The Digital Pulse report is the ninth since the annual survey of Australia’s technology sector was first released in 2015. Key national statistics from the report include:

  • A lack of the right digital skills is currently costing Australian businesses $3.1 billion each year which could top $16bn by 2030.
  • The pace of technology investment in Australia is projected to skyrocket from $171B in 2023 to $259B by 2030, this rate of growth is three times faster than overall business investment.
  • By the end of the decade, half of Australian businesses will be using AI, data analytics and robotics but technologies like Generative AI mean businesses will need to do more to keep up with their employees shifting skills and
  • 75% of working hours for Australian workers will be affected by key technologies, heralding a significant skill shift across industries.

In the national report, ACS proposes a National Digital Skills Strategy including a skills-first education and training initiative, a national skills platform, more support for career transitions towards a tech orientated career, to boost the diversity in tech skills, programs to boost Women in Tech, and assist skilled migrants utilise their capabilities.

The full 2023 Digital Pulse report can be downloaded from the ACS  website at www.acs.org.au.

*Critical technologies include Generative AI, additive manufacturing, advanced data analytics, advanced robotics and sensors, additive manufacturing, cyber security, enabling cloud technology, Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual worlds.


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