Getting creative about new jobs

Professor John Spoehr

South Australia’s creative companies need to innovate quickly to cope with and add value to technological changes, a new report from Flinders says.

Professor John Spoehr, director of the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute at Flinders University, says South Australia’s small-to-medium enterprises need to better understand the impacts of technological change, which threatens to make many existing business models obsolete and displace two in every five jobs within the next 10 years.

Creative Solutions, a new report by the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute at Flinders University, reveals that while innovative use of technologies such as 3D printing, digital, biotechnology, nanotech and artificial intelligence (AI) threatens jobs losses in some sectors it could lead to significant growth in others if better position South Australia to take advantage of new opportunities for growth in the digital economy.

“We need to put in place measures that help accelerate growth of the digital industries in South Australia,  if we are to replace those jobs lost as a consequence of the new technologies,” says Professor John Spoehr, director of the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute.

“Many of the new jobs flowing from this transformation involve creativity, design and problem solving. They cannot be readily replaced – if at all – by machines and so are more resistant to automation and other technological change,” says Creative Solutions co-author, senior research fellow Dr Ann-Louise Hordacre.

“There is considerable variation in the expected impact of automation on occupations, with creative occupation half as likely to be considered vulnerable to automation,” she says.

Around 24% of the creative occupation workforce are considered vulnerable to automation – whereas 54% of those in all other occupations are considered vulnerable, the Flinders report says.

There is a role for government to:

  • Invest in policies to nurture creative skills and capabilities to support competitive advantage for SA to become a leader in the design, development and uptake of new technologies and complex services embedded in knowledge intensive, creative and innovative industries.
  • Encourage student engagement at the secondary level with STEAMED (science, technology, engineering, arts, maths, entrepreneurship and design) subjects.
  • Promote the delivery of creative skills in the VET sector.
  • Identify skills gaps and workforce shortages in the creative industries and ensure the right programs, apprenticeships, training and educational opportunities are available.
  • Promote the place of women in the creative workforce and encourage industry to provide entry level opportunities for women to participate in this area.
  • Support knowledge intensification strategies that build skills and knowledge in traditional occupations and industries to make them more resilient to automation.
  • Encourage venture capital and other investment to support creative businesses to develop commercial potential.

Creatives include the thought and knowledge leaders in software development and interactive content, music and performing arts, film, television, radio advertising, marketing, design and visual arts and writing, publishing and print media.

Professions at least risk of automation range from school principals and secondary school teachers, psychiatrists, dietitians and pharmacists to agricultural and fisheries scientists and ICT experts and systems analysts.

Jobs most vulnerable to technology disruption include product assemblers, farm workers, garden labourers, office clerks, receptionists, checkout operators, insurance investigators, telemarketers and sales assistants.

Industry areas at less risk generally include education and training, health care and social assistance and other services in the arts and recreation, public administration and safety, IMT and PST and support for the electricity, gas, water and waste industries.

Read the full report – Creative solutions – creativity, innovation and sustainable jobs in South Australia, March 2017 by Ann-Louise Hordacre, John Spoehr and Kate Barnett – on the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute website at Flinders University.

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