PWC Report: 50% Of Jobs Will Be Obsolete In 20 Years

So it looks like computers will be taking our jobs.

According to a new report, almost half of current Australian professions are at high risk of disappearing thanks to technology over the next two decades. That’s a lot of jobs — 5.1 million to be precise.

Adding to the bad news is that the authors of the report, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, think Australia’s education system is not equipping students with the relevant skills to survive in the digital age.

They say unless we start training our workforce and encourage more students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects (STEM), Australia will fall well behind other countries.

The PwC report, The STEM Imperative: Future Proofing Australia’s Workforce, says most of the jobs people are employed in today simply “won’t exist” in the next decade. Professions most at risk of being computerised are accountants, checkout operators, administration workers and wood machinists affecting more than 700,000 people. Those unlikely to be affected will be doctors, nurses, teachers and ICT professionals.

The report says Australia is already “lagging” behind and that in order to compete globally in data, digital technologies and innovation industries, it needs more STEM-trained employees.

“Research indicates that 75 per cent of the fastest growing occupations now require STEM skills, and over 70 per cent of Australian employers identify STEM employees as being among the most innovative,” it adds.

It says that from 1992 to 2012 there was an 11 per cent fall in year 12 participation for intermediate mathematics, 10 per cent for biology, five per cent for chemistry and 7 per cent for physics.

Enrolments and completions in university STEM courses have remained flat over the period 2001 to 2013. Non-STEM courses had grown steadily, it adds. In order to prevent a large unskilled workforce, the authors are calling for the business and education sectors to work with government to deliver the STEM outcomes the country needs to remain “a competitive, innovative and prosperous nation”.