The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) report highlighted the need for more funding and a cooperative approach to prepare for huge changes in the workforce.
Almost five million jobs face a high probability of being replaced in the next two decades, while a further 18.4 per cent of the workforce had a “medium probability” of their jobs being eliminated, the report found.
CEDA chief executive Professor Stephen Martin said the world was on the cusp of another industrial revolution being driven by technology, and it was not just low-paid, manual jobs at risk.
“What we’ve found is that going right through to dentists, and clergy and chemical engineers — and, dare I say, even editors or newspaper proprietors and, heaven forbid, even economists — all of these are in grave danger of perhaps outliving their usefulness,” Professor Martin said.
The report said jobs that involved “low levels of social interaction, low levels of creativity, or low levels of mobility and dexterity” were most likely to be replaced by automation.
While automation had already replaced many jobs in manufacturing, agriculture and mining, in the coming decades industries such as the health sector would also be impacted, it was found.
“Health is an especially significant area likely to be impacted, through automation in clinical data and predictive diagnostics (analysis roles), to robotics assisting in areas from surgery to nursing and from hospital logistics to pharmaceutical dispensary,” the report said.
The report found that advances in technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and big data were largely driving the change.