Are benefits of job automation likely to be shared equally?

Authors: Shahid M Shahiduzzam, Marek Kowalkiewicz and Rowena Barrett

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While companies might reap significant gains in productivity from automating certain jobs, this won’t necessarily lead to pay rises for everyone. The evidence suggests businesses might pass on the gains to some workers, but not to all.

Some 40% of all jobs are predicted to disappear with automation in Australia. The jobs most likely to go first will be those that can be easily codified, those that are repetitive, simple, structured or routine: think of jobs in manufacturing or those that involve form processing or driving a vehicle.

More than three decades ago, the economics Nobel Laureate, Robert Solow wrote

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In 2016–17 Australian businesses invested around A$35 Billion in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) goods and services. This is up from around A$33 Billion invested in 2015–16, according to statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week.

With these amounts, net investment in ICTs amounted to approximately 11% of total investment in the economy in 2016–17 as compared to around 10% in the previous year. Over the last decade or so, share of ICT investment to GDP increased, with ICT investment growth rates superseding the growth rates of per capita GDP — a measure that reflects the economic performance and wellbeing of the country’s population (Chart 1)! …


Shahid M Shahiduzzam

Productivity Analyst, Research Fellow and Theme Leader - Accelerating Digital Productivity. PwC Chair of Digital Economy, QUT

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