The Future Employment Study released in September found that all jobs in the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday (MIW) region by 2030 will require some level of foundational digital skills.
This means emerging technologies such as data analytics, blockchain, 3D mapping and autonomous trucks, to name a few, are no longer tucked away in a distant future, but are a current reality.
Understanding how to work with and alongside digital technologies is an essential skill that will characterise the region’s employment prospects well into the future.
According to the research carried out in the MIW Future Employment Study, and taking into consideration previous growth trajectories, more than 3,000 jobs will be added to the Health Care and Social Assistance workforce over the period to 2030, driven by the region’s growing demand for health services and applied medical research.
This means workers skilled in digital pathology, health informatics and AI-assisted diagnosis, to name a few, will be at the forefront of our region’s economic transformation, building on their existing knowledge to leverage the opportunities afforded by digital technologies.
After extensive consultation between business and community leaders, barriers to the adoption of technology included privacy concerns, quality of internet connectivity and the high costs associated with some technologies.
But, equally, the benefits of technology adoption were shared by businesses from different sectors, with an emphasis on the expectations of customers and the ability to compete with other businesses on an even footing.
The report laid out nine key steps to enable change and support employment over the next ten years, however, a common theme throughout the report is the need to build leadership as a vehicle for digital adoption and workforce transition.
We’ve seen leadership in action among many local businesses. Jason Sharam from Linked Group Services upskilled electricians to work with computer-aided design software to manufacture energy equipment at their Mackay warehouse.
Steven Tye from software development company, Tyeware worked closely with the Mackay Regional Council to build a smart water system that regulates water consumption and saves residents hundreds of dollars a year on their water bills through its customer portal, MyH2O.
Steven and Jason shared with GW3 that putting cutting-edge technologies at the centre of their digital transformations wasn’t straightforward.
Both businesses dealt with uncertain investment outcomes but persevered by testing their ideas frequently and bringing staff and clients on the journey with them.
Other business leaders like Andy Thomsen have found new customers all together by learning how to build an online following, picking up new skills in digital marketing and delivering customer experiences that rival tourism operators.
While these examples demonstrate what can be achieved by sole-traders and small businesses, large organisations must also prepare workers for the challenges and opportunities of automation and augmentation.
This can be done by investing in leadership, a clear vision for the future and a commitment to driving innovation and a positive culture from the c-suite to the shop floor.
We’re ready to build the next generation of leaders to help our community navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution and want to hear about their vision for the future on this platform.
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