IT Brief Australia - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
Story image
Generative AI set to disrupt NSW workforce by 2030
Mon, 11th Mar 2024

The New South Wales (NSW) workforce is bracing for an impending disruption sparked by Generative AI and other critical technologies. Predictions from the ACS Digital Pulse report indicate that nearly 96% of the state's workforce, equating to around 4.2 million workers, will be affected by these technologies over the course of this decade.

The industries poised to undergo the most significant impact, which collectively account for 33% of the economy, are likely to experience enormous upheaval. Despite this, NSW remains a national pioneer in this field; it has the largest digital workforce in Australia with 348,000 workers, a number that increased by 5% in 2022. Furthermore, NSW users utilise Generative AI more than the national average, with 53% of the workforce turning to this advanced technology.

The report anticipates that by 2030, the annual technology investment in NSW will amount to $60 billion. To meet this growth, it is estimated that 23,000 new technology workers will need to join the NSW workforce every year until 2030. Current outdated digital skills are proving costly for NSW large businesses, with shortfalls amounting to $1.1 billion annually.

The ACS Digital Pulse report is prepared annually by Deloitte Access Economics and provides an overview of the national IT workforce. The report revealed that NSW's technology workforce is expanding faster than the broader economy. However, it also warned that a range of existing sectors - particularly finance, insurance, retail and wholesale - could be severely disrupted by these emerging technologies.

Totaling at 50% of the state's economy, the ten industries predicted to be most affected by AI could face unprecedented changes. As such, diversification, continuous learning and a strategic approach are more crucial than ever before. To meet these demands, the ACS suggests a range of measures that will assist the state and Australia in seizing opportunities and managing future challenges in the face of rapidly changing digital environments.

According to ACS New South Wales Chair, Cindy Chung, this includes initiatives like the Digital Skills Compact, aimed at building public and private sectors' capacities to deal with emerging digital challenges. "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," she said.

At a national level, the ACS proposes a National Digital Skills Strategy which includes an education and training initiative favouring digital skill development, a national skills platform, more support for transitions towards a tech-related career, increased diversity in tech skills, programmes to promote women in tech, and assistance for skilled migrants to utilise their capabilities.

The ACS report highlights that currently, the lack of appropriate digital skills is costing Australian businesses around $3.1 billion each year, a figure that could potentially rise to a staggering $16 billion by 2030. As technology investment in Australia is expected to dramatically rise from $171 billion in 2023 to $259 billion in 2030, businesses will need to keep up with their employees' evolving skills and demands to stay competitive.

By the end of this decade, it is anticipated that half of Australian businesses will be utilising AI, data analytics, and robotics. However, as 75% of working hours for Australian workers will be affected by these key technologies, an industry-wide skills shift will be necessary to maintain performance and productivity.