Bracing for the automation age

Will robots really replace nearly half of all human workers in coming years, as widely cited research suggests? Our client, a large global technology company, asked us to investigate.

The Challenge

Advances in communication technology, robotics, and machine intelligence are rekindling age-old concerns that technology will soon force millions of people out of work. But are the naysayers right? Our client commissioned us to decipher recent automation trends and make sense of the speed at which automation technology is actually changing the Australian economy.

The Solution

We used a data-driven econometric approach to solve this research challenge and realised early onwards that we need to dig deep. As automation is set to affect every single job, we decided to look beneath the occupational level and examine how technology is changing the way Australia’s 12 million workers are spending a combined 20 billion work hours each year. We analysed changes in more than 2,000 different work tasks since the start of the millennium to sketch out a vision for the future.

The Outcome

Our robust research approach offers a fresh perspective in the anxiety-driven automation debate. It finds that automation trends in Australia are unfolding much more slowly than elsewhere in the world and, contrary to common belief, provide a substantial economic opportunity to make human work safer, more meaningful, and more valuable.

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