Adaptive NSW lays out the vast potential of emerging technology to make our future a better one. It argues that if we are prepared, technology could revive our productivity and power a new era of green economic growth, higher living standards, and resilience.
To do this, it argues, we will need to embrace technology and build an adaptive workforce. We will also need to make sure that the benefits of technology are felt widely across the community, and that the ‘future of work’ really is a better one for everyone.
An optimal outcome will not occur without public policy support. Government has a leadership role in developing a collective understanding of the possible workforce and workplace transitions and in mitigating the risks and amplifying the opportunities which arise from technology adoption.
In this report, the NSW Productivity Commission and the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council lay out the core principles for NSW policymakers thinking about technology, automation, and the future of work:
- Be a fast technology adopter. This means encouraging private sector tech adoption through smart regulation, while embracing technology to improve public services.
- Attract and foster the core tech-adoption workforce. This requires nurturing entrepreneurship, harnessing local talent with expertise in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and making targeted efforts to attract leading-edge overseas tech talent.
- Build all workers’ adaptive capacity. This includes supporting lifelong learning and continuous upskilling, combatting credentialism and creating smooth mid-career transition pathways, and spreading digital education opportunities, microcredentials, and other forms of non-formal learning.
- Ensure the process of tech adoption and adaptation is inclusive. This means ensuring smooth transitions for workers and industries facing technological disruption, using technology to diversify regional economies and broaden workforce participation, and ensuring the benefits of technology are distributed widely.
Modelling outlined in the report finds that if emerging technologies are widely adopted, they will increase productivity and Gross State Product, and will not increase unemployment in NSW. Most new jobs are likely to be created in services but new and expanding industries will also create high-skill, high-pay, tech-related jobs.