Technology has been radically changing the nature of work over the past century and will continue to do so into the future. A series of recent industry reports have stressed the importance of creativity in confronting the challenges that rapid and extensive technological change will have on future employment prospects.
The magnitude of the problem is stated simply in a detailed 2015 Committee for Economic Development in Australia (CEDA) report. Over the next fifteen years, 40% of Australian jobs are a high chance of loss to technology and another 18% are at a medium chance of loss.Jobs that involve low levels of social interaction, low levels of creativity, or low levels of mobility and dexterity are more likely to be replaced by automation. In contrast, occupations that involve complex perception and manipulation tasks, creative intelligence tasks, and social intelligence tasks are least likely to be replaced by automation.
“40% of the Australian workforce face the high probability of being replaced by computers in the next ten to fifteen years.” (2015 CEDA report)
This importance of creativity in future employment was reinforced in a 2015 Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) report. This report found that what it termed ‘21stCentury Skills’ – creative intelligence, social intelligence, and problem solving – are the least likely to be affected by automation. Jobs which involve routine tasks – whether they be manual or intellectual – face the highest likelihood of automation, whether it be from robotics or advanced computer algorithms. For example, routine data search task such as commonly performed by accountants or lawyers face a high possibility of automation.
“Economists have predicted that, over the next two decades, the jobs most unlikely to be automated are those that involve creative intelligence, social intelligence and problem solving.” (2015 FYA report)
Finally a 2016 Productivity Commission (PC) report specified which occupations will be most at risk and those that will be immune from change. Labourers, machinery operators, drivers, and clerical workers will all face significant risk from automation, while professionals and personal service workers face the least risk. This report also found that the nature of work will change, with employment being more oriented to self-employment, contract and casual work, and project management. On-going, full time employment with a single employer will largely be a thing of the past.
“Skills associated with creativity are not only important for finding novel and innovative solutions, they are also skills that are unlikely to be made redundant by disruptive technology such as automation.” (2016 PC report)
In the future labour market, creativity wont simply be a special skill or capacity of artists and musicians. It will be a necessary skill for all workers. Why is this?
Firstly, workers of the future will need to be problem-solvers. They will need to think laterally and creatively as they confront new social, industrial, and economic problems.
Secondly, workers of the future will need to anticipate coming trends. They will need to be creative in the way they access information and knowledge about the future.
Thirdly, workers of the future will need to be creative and inventive in the way they organise their employment and their home-work balance. Work in the future will be contract driven and part-time in nature.
Fourthly, workers of the future will need to use social media creatively to advertise their skills and gain work contracts.
Finally, workers who are creative will be those who are most immune from the impact of computer automation on the job market.
Are you ready to learn how to be creative?