As Queensland moves further into the 21st century, differing viewpoints are emerging on
the future of work. Some are highly optimistic – ‘technology will solve all our problems’ and others highly pessimistic – ‘robots are going to take our jobs’. The work that Jobs Queensland has undertaken to date suggests that the subject is more complex.
While technology is considered by many as the major factor influencing the future of work and
the workforce, it is but one of three drivers of change. These three drivers comprise technology
impacts; demographic and social changes; and legal, institutional and policy influences. The environment in which these drivers interact is often referred to as the ‘political economy’.
Globalisation, another theme also discussed widely in the associated literature, is both cause
and effect of these three drivers.
The Jobs Queensland Future of Work project commenced with a literature review of credible
research to highlight a range of opinions to sharpen our collective focus, identify opportunities
for future workplaces and workforces and consider the implications for employment and skills
policy. A wealth of national and international literature and projections about the future of work
and the future workforce of 2030 was identified. The review identified points of consensus,
difference and information gaps, including that there is limited research that is specific to
Queensland. The literature review is available via the Jobs Queensland website. A summary of
its findings is presented in the next section of this paper.
This discussion paper draws on the key findings of the literature review and provides analysis
and commentary on the changes that have occurred and are projected to occur in the
Queensland economy and workforce. Its purpose is to provide a Queensland context and
highlight where evidence is scarce for the conversations that will inform and drive future policy
advice around employment and skills development.