40 percent of Australian jobs at risk of disappearing: CEDA

CEDA has revealed its findings regarding job security for Australians, urging the government, private sector, and community to prepare for the future.

The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) has published its major research report for the year, "Australia's future workforce?", and called for Australians to ensure that the nation is technologically ready for the workforce of the future.

According to the think tank, more than 5 million jobs -- almost 40 percent of Australian jobs that exist today -- have a moderate to high likelihood of disappearing in the next 10 to 15 years, citing technological advancements as the reason.

CEDA's chief executive, professor Stephen Martin, released the findings on Tuesday in Melbourne. CEDA reported that while there will be new jobs and industries that emerge from the increasingly digital era, Australia will suffer if it does not plan for and invest in the right areas.

"Australia and the world is on the cusp of a new but very different industrial revolution, and it is important that we are planning now to ensure our economy does not get left behind.

"While we have seen automation replace some jobs in areas such as agriculture, mining, and manufacturing, other areas where we are likely to see change are, for example, the health sector, which to date has remained largely untouched by technological change," he said.

Speaking on ABC News 24, Martin used the example of a patient in a hospital bed, and said the role of a nurse checking a patient's status could be potentially nullified by machines -- a role that had previously been overlooked to be replaced by computers.

The professor said that given the unprecedented pace of technological advancement in the last 20 years, it is likely that pace will continue for the next 20 years. He urged for the government to lead the way for the rest of the country in preparing for the future.

"Creating a culture of innovation must be driven by the private sector, educational institutions, and government. However, government must lead the way with clear and detailed education, innovation, and technology policies that are funded adequately.

"It is likely some tough decisions about the Australian labour market will need to be made in the next decade; we've already had a taste of this with the decline of the car manufacturing industry," he said.

Martin claimed that the current commitment is woefully underfunded compared to the country's global counterparts. The United Kingdom has allocated almost AU$3 billion towards technology growth centres, versus Australia's AU$190 million over the same four-year period.

The report said the country needs to reconsider how it deals with reskilling workers as fields of employment disappear.