What are the changes to industry?

Digitalisation is rapidly changing the face of the Australian, and global, workforce. Businesses are now faced with the challenge of adapting to this change and equipping their company with a digitally-adept workforce, or being left behind in the dust. From organisational changes to hiring STEM talent, we will look at the series of steps that must be part of your future-proofing strategy.

The world is witnessing rapid developments in artificial intelligence, 3D printing, the Internet of Things, big data and never-before-seen computer power. A number of emerging technologies are also set to change the way we use technology in our work, with robotics and machine learning being just some of the tools that will transform the way we do things.

What do these changes mean for your workforce?

Technological change can often be seen as a frightening force, taking away jobs and leaving destruction in its wake. The truth is, thankfully, far less disastrous. While some existing jobs may need to adapt to this new era, digital transformation itself is not inherently negative for the workforce, if paired with positive organisational change and effective managerial practices.

Major technological changes in the past have in fact created higher levels of income and more jobs overall, compensating for the loss of some jobs. In certain industries, the number of jobs have increased when partial automation has occurred, as overall demand for the remaining activities have continued to grow. As long as the period of disruption is well-managed, businesses are likely to come out of this major technological shift stronger than ever.  

However, a successful workforce will still need to develop new skills and processes to adapt to the changes created by automation, with 79% of CEOs expressing concern about the impact of changes in core technology and 74% stating an availability of key skills including technology skills are a threat.

What does a digitally-adept workforce look like?

Investing in human capital is now more important than ever. It’s not enough for workers to simply add more skills to their CV: an entirely different skill set is needed instead.

Currently, the Australian workforce lacks the ICT skills needed in the future. The OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills indicates that on average, around half of the adult population can only perform simple ICT tasks, or have no ICT skills at all. This does not bode well for the future, unless we begin to see ICT skills as an unwaverable essential instead of something only computer specialists need to master.

In the near future, all companies will require high skill workers who can interact closely with technology, work alongside machines that are being used to automate some of their own tasks,  and individuals who are highly proficient in literacy, numeracy, problem solving, critical thinking and analysis.

Almost no occupation will be untouched by this shift. The implication of this is that agility, resilience and flexibility will be needed by all to fuel successful organisations. The most adaptable companies will see digitalisation as an opportunity instead of something to be afraid of.

What specific skills does your workforce need in the digital age?

Educational institutions play an integral part in equipping the future workforce with the skills needed to succeed. These include:

Digital and ICT literacy

All future workers will require a strong grasp of digital and ICT skills, meaning schools need to place an emphasis on these areas from the very beginning. In the VET sector, there needs to be a stronger focus on high level skills for enterprise systems and analytics, security and digital innovation.

STEM skills with enterprise skills

Both basic and advanced STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) need to be improved in education and training systems, with an increased emphasis being placed on the enterprise skills of creativity, complex problem solving and critical thinking.

Management development

Education and training systems must refocus on management development and workplace innovation, so that companies are led by those driving constant change

Micro skills development

New skilling is always possible, as new technologies are constantly arising. Companies should support workers looking to obtain microcredentials, and should also promote lifelong learning initiatives.

Business-Education Links

The gap between business and education must be bridged, with closer links allowing for greater work readiness and access to new ideas. Students at all stages of education can benefit from exposure to the business world, with these businesses also being assisted by the introduction of bright young minds.

How can you prepare your business for the digital age?

Develop your strategy

A digital strategy that includes the digital skills capability of your workforce is needed to effectively migrate to increased automation

Review work organisation

Organisational changes will also be needed, as automation can completely change your previous business processes. Automation must start to be seen as a reliable productivity aide than a threat.

Equip leaders and managers

The right management skills are needed to spearhead any organisation. Successful managers must have the skills to cope with complex challenges, adapt to constant change, take risks and engage in restructuring.

Form partnerships with education sectors

Connect with local universities, training and vocational education providers, and schools to collaborate on projects and activities. This allows you to shape the skills you need in your future workforce and encourage new ideas to the table.

Re-skill existing workforce

Regularly upskill your existing workforce so that they can take advantage of growth opportunities and adapt to the digital economy. This will result in employees who are more capable, need less supervision and are more engaged.

Invest in Research & Development

Innovation is needed to stay afloat in the digital age, meaning businesses must also collaborate with research organisations.

Utilise government support

There are a plethora of government initiatives and investments that can be used to support your digitalisation efforts, so make sure to access them.

What can we do for you?

Ai Group Talent Solutions are at the forefront of future-proofing workforces for the digital age. Our Higher Apprenticeships allow you to equip your business for Industry 4.0 with the nation’s leading STEM talent. Apprentices will obtain a Diploma and Associate Degree in Applied Technologies through hands-on and work-based competencies as well as advanced knowledge obtained through off-the-job training.

Focusing on the Internet of Things, IT Disruptive Technologies, Engineering, Design and Business, the program enables employers to train future technicians with a higher skills level to meet their needs in an Industry 4.0 based economy.

By delivering innovative STEM talent solutions, we help people and organisations move into a new era of work. Whether you are looking for grads and interns or highly experienced apprentices who are in the process of upskilling, Ai Group Talent Solutions can ensure you excel in the competitive global market.

The future is determined by the decisions you make today. Find out more about our Higher Apprenticeships here or contact us directly to speak to an expert.

E: talent@aigroup.com.au

P: 1300 436 088