Australia doesn’t have a great track record of preparing its population when it comes to a new wave of society-changing innovation. With Industry 4.0 now moving at full speed globally, the question needs to be asked is how prepared Australia is – particularly in relation to the IT sector, which is going to play an integral part in this particular revolution.
There is no better example of Australia’s struggle to transition than the car manufacturing industry. Australia once had a thriving industry with major manufacturing facilities from Holden, Toyota and Ford. It went bust and disappeared with about 30,000 jobs nearly a decade ago, and has drawn much criticism from government and industry alike for how poorly it supported workers who needed to change careers completely. There was a need
What is Industry 4.0?
The world is now firmly in the era of Industry 4.0 – the next big step in our ability to work and produce goods and a revolution that will enable companies to significantly improve operational efficiency, reduce costs and more through the use of advanced technologies. and enhance product quality. ,
Industry 4.0 fosters innovation and competitiveness by bringing together robotics, automation, Internet of Things, 5G, edge computing, AI and other technologies to enable data-driven decision making and adaptive manufacturing processes to take away much of the labor-intensive work Could It would be easy to replace what humans currently do.
See: Search How tech professionals in Australia are preparing for AI in their industry,
Because Industry 4.0 brings technology much closer to the production process, it will make many purely labor-driven jobs redundant. However, this will be an opportunity for humans to move up in the “value chain” and do work that is more interesting and contributes more to creativity and innovation.
This happens when society is able to facilitate the transition of human skills across, sometimes, completely different areas of expertise, across industry and government.
Australia’s tech skills gap and cultural resistance make Industry 4.0 a national challenge
In 2018, research suggested that Australia was struggling to create the skills and training environment to facilitate and take advantage of Industry 4.0. Then, in a speech, Ed Husik, the Australian Minister for Industry and Science, acknowledged that this is still an issue that has not been addressed.
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Worse, there is some degree of cultural resistance to the idea of a high-skilled future in Australia.
Acknowledging that Australia needs to start moving to address this challenge, Husik said the country’s national industry policy aims to have “more Australian workers making more things in Australia using Australian know-how and Australian resources”. Should be.”
“Of course, there are people who criticize this new dynamical approach,” Husik said. “It seems that they stick to the economic ideas that were in fashion in the ’80s…
“They say things like, ‘Why have a battery industry in Australia, let’s focus on what we’ve always done best, produce raw materials.’ It seems that if you can cut it, dig it, grow it, and then ship it, that’s enough.”
What IT skills does Australia need to successfully take advantage of Industry 4.0?
For any nation, industry, region, business or individual to thrive in the world of Industry 4.0, it is important to have deep access to a number of skills – and they are almost all IT-based skills. Industry 4.0 has an acute need for data literacy, analytical skills, management of digital media and a basic understanding of automation and artificial intelligence.
Then, there’s also the highly qualified IT staff and the skills needed to manage a business full of “smart” technology. Business leaders will continue to need advanced communication skills, an ethical and responsible approach to leadership, creativity and imagination, emotional intelligence, adaptability to change, flexibility and the ability to manage diverse and remote teams.
The problem is that Australia doesn’t have enough skills. Over the past few years, the number of companies that reported that “labor” was a significant constraint not only exceeded the 30% barrier for the first time in history, but has since risen to more than 50% (picture a,
More than 50% of Australian firms report that labor is one of their biggest constraints. Image: NAB
One in two (59%) organizations feel their applicants lack the skills they need, and four in five (79%) aren’t even finding enough applicants in the first place.
Even more worrying is the fact that Industry 4.0 is going to play an important role in the sectors where the skill shortage is most acute. Trade and services, hospitality and tourism, IT as a sector, healthcare and manufacturing are all facing a sharp decline in job applications.picture b, Without finding a solution to this skills crisis, Australia is in real danger of missing the opportunity entirely.
Australia is seeing a decline in applications for key Industry 4.0 roles. Image: find
How can Australia overcome the Industry 4.0 skills crisis?
One of the main solutions traditionally taken to address the labor shortage is to turn to immigration, but this is only going to provide so much relief, especially when there is a housing shortage that limits the number of immigrants to political pressure. exerting pressure.
Much can be done to better prepare the domestic population for the impact of Industry 4.0.
Provide better skill development and pathways
Around 75% of Australian workers are keen to upgrade their skills. The breadth of skills needed in Industry 4.0 will allow most people to find new competencies in line with their abilities.
This will be an especially important opportunity in traditionally non-tech industries such as healthcare, hospitality and trade. Helping current employees develop IT capabilities is a useful way for employers to help them with ongoing career development, and thereby improve morale and retention. It also means that there will be people with technology skills in those areas who understand the area better rather than trying to get IT professionals into areas they are unfamiliar with.
provide better benefits
Maintaining skills is just as important as finding new ones. Currently, organizations are struggling to understand what employees really want. This is not raw salary. Instead, employees – especially in the younger generation – appreciate child care assistance, the opportunity to upskill and take training on company money, flexible working hours, the ability to work remotely and greater respect for work-life balance. want to see
make work more interesting
While employees are concerned that AI and automation will take away their jobs, a better approach would be to allow AI and automation to take over the less interesting part of their jobs, allowing employees to focus more time on high-value projects. To be able This will ultimately lead to the kind of innovation that Industry 4.0 champions anyway, but accustoming the organization from the start to the idea of changing job descriptions rather than roles will be essential to managing a smooth transition to innovation.
IT workers are at the heart of Australia’s future opportunities
For existing IT workers, the opportunities are about to be almost unprecedented; However, it will become more important that IT workers spend some time upgrading themselves. His high level of competency in technology is going to make him a natural choice for leaders in organizations undergoing Industry 4.0 transformation. IT professionals are being called upon to have a deep understanding of the areas in which they work, not just the technology powering their businesses.