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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, 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, 22, (2) pp. 95-120. ISSN 1328-1143 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:future of work, fourth industrial revolution, australia, shift-share analysis, gender, economic growth
Research Division:Economics
Research Group:Applied economics
Research Field:Labour economics
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Work and labour market
Objective Field:Employment patterns and change
UTAS Author:Denny, L (Ms Lisa Denny)
ID Code:138862
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2020-05-05
Last Modified:2020-07-28

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