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Demand for Stem Skills Will Generate The Next Wave of Growth

30 April 2015

While technology and innovation are transforming our economy, they are also the solution to our workforce and growth challenge, PwC Chief Executive Luke Sayers said today while releasing a report on the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

“Business is already struggling to find the right skilled talent for their workforce, and digital disruption is putting more jobs at risk,” he said at the launch of ‘A Smart move: Future-proofing Australia’s Workforce’ at an Australia- Israel Chamber of Commerce event at PwC offices in Sydney.

Key findings of the report include:

  • 44 per cent or 5.1 million current Australian jobs are at risk from digital disruption in 20 years
  • 75 per cent of the fast growing occupations require STEM skills
  • Changing 1 per cent of the workforce into STEM roles would add $57.4 billion to GDP
  • Top three occupations least at risk in the workforce of the future are doctors, nurses and teachers
  • The top three occupations at risk are accountants, cashiers and administration workers

“It was no shock to us that our own research showed PwC’s core business, accounting, is at the highest risk of automation over the next 20 years as we have been planning this change for a while,” Mr Sayers said.

“Two examples in our audit practice are, our automated data assurance service which will have the capability to provide a real time audit to all clients. And a global first in predictive analytics to help anticipate future issues based on previous experience.

“These technological innovations not only make audits more secure, but free up our skilled workforce to provide more insight and analysis that benefits our clients.”

Mr Sayers said modelling outlined in the report shows the economic benefit of switching just 127,000 workers to STEM roles could reach $57.4 billion net present value over 20 years - the size of Australia’s car and parts manufacturing industry which is in steep decline.

“Higher skilled workers create more valuable goods and services and can sell them at higher prices and demand higher wages,” Mr Sayers said.

“Business needs to create more demand for these skills to drive growth for their organisations and the country at large.

Business can do this by driving change through the education system, promote careers in STEM subjects and work with policy makers to get the infrastructure we need to up-skill workforce of the future.

“PwC is heavily involved in creating this demand and is working on a broader strategy to generate more STEM graduates for business which will be unveiled soon.”

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