More than half of the jobs in Tasmania’s northern half are at high or moderate risk of being replaced by technology in coming years.
That is according to a paper from the Regional Australia Institute which also detailed the job types most at risk and least at risk in each municipality.
Broadly, if robots, automation and so on continue their rise, school teaching jobs are expected to be among the safest in Tasmania’s North-West and North.
Nurses, midwives and construction, distribution and production managers also appeared to be relatively secure from the rise of the robots, along with retail mangers.
The outlook was less promising for workers who could more easily be replaced by automation and digital technologies.
Those included sales assistants and salespersons, food process workers and, apparently, hospitality workers.
Data released with the Job Vulnerability in Australia paper broke down its predictions to municipal level.
In Tasmania’s northern half:
- Devonport (31.1 per cent), Central Coast (29.6 per cent) and Launceston (29.5 per cent) were rated as having the biggest proportions of workers highly vulnerable to technology;
- the West Coast (18 per cent) and Flinders (17.8 per cent) had the smallest proportions of workers highly vulnerable;
- municipalities with the highest proportions of jobs either highly or moderately vulnerable included King Island (77.5 per cent), Circular Head (76.9 per cent) and George Town (73.3 per cent); and
- Launceston (40.8 per cent), Burnie (36.6 per cent) and Flinders (35.4 per cent) had the biggest proportions with low vulnerability to being replaced.
Regional Australia Institute chief executive Jack Archer said automation would replace or dramatically change many jobs, but many new jobs would be created during the process and it was time to start preparing communities.
“Some regional areas are more susceptible to automation than others, and each region also has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses to deal with the changing nature of work,” Mr Archer said.
“Heartland (rural) regions have the lowest percentage of highly vulnerable jobs, but are often less able to adapt to new technologies due to lack of necessary infrastructure and expertise.
“Regional cities, on the other hand, have the greatest proportion of jobs highly vulnerable to automation.
“However, regional cities have an advantage in managing change as they are better placed when it comes to availability of technological infrastructure and professionals.”
He said the research showed regional cities could transform more readily as they had more innovation, entrepreneurial skills and technological readiness and a capable education sector.
“While there are less highly vulnerable jobs in rural areas, it may be more difficult for these areas to respond unless there are changes to local education services and engagement,” he said.
“What this information emphasises is that, as the workforce structure changes in regional Australia, communities need to be looking at how they will build local skills and new businesses that align to the job demands of the future.
“Centralised policy responses by government are unlikely to deal with the unique challenges each community will face.”
The report found 22.6 per cent of jobs across Australia in rural areas, 28.1 per cent in regional cities and 26.5 per cent in metropolitan areas and industry and service hubs were highly vulnerable.