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Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go – the Fourth Industrial Revolution and thoughts on the future of work in Australia

Denny, L ORCID: 0000-0001-9842-1556 2019 , 'Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go – the Fourth Industrial Revolution and thoughts on the future of work in Australia' , Australian Journal of Labour Economics, vol. 22, no. 2 , pp. 95-120 .

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Abstract

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) suggests significant transformation of theAustralian economy with predictions of ‘technological unemployment’. Combinedwith other significant economic, demographic and social shifts, it is inevitable thatfuture of work will change. This paper applies industrial revolution scholarship tocontribute new empirical insights into the transformation of Australia’s economybetween 2006 and 2016 and evaluate Australia’s progress in the 4IR. The paperalso introduces gender as a largely missing component in industrial revolutionscholarship. Adapting the shift-share method of analysis to ABS Census data, thepaper attributes the change in the share of employment and industry restructureover the decade to four factors: national economic growth, industry (re)structure,employment composition, and within industry employment composition. The paperfinds that while job growth occurred in the decade to 2016, it was largely driven by anational growth effect associated with increasing consumption and the industry effectassociated with the rise of the services sectors and the changing social organisationof care, rather than innovation and technological advancements. Job destruction, onthe other hand, is evident in industry sectors associated with the 4IR; the replacementof jobs by automation and artificial intelligence to increase competitiveness andproductivity. To transition to the phase of job creation in an industrial revolution,Australia needs socio-political intervention to address four key issues.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Denny, L
Keywords: future of work, fourth industrial revolution, australia, shift-share analysis, gender, economic growth
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Labour Economics
Publisher: Centre for Labour Market Research
ISSN: 1328-1143
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 The Centre for Labour Market Research (CLMR)

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