Preparing for the Future of Work Across Australia

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COVID-19 is likely to leave long-lasting effects on local labour markets. It is accelerating a pre-existing trend towards automation, as firms look even more to new technologies to pandemic proof their operations. While automation offers the opportunity to boost productivity, it can also lead to job polarisation as vulnerable workers who lose their jobs may not have the skills needed in a changing labour market. This OECD report examines the potential impacts of automation on people and places across Australia. It also sheds light on policies and programmes that can help regions and cities to prepare for the future of work.



This OECD report comes at a time when governments around the world are beginning the process of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. With the closure of its borders to non-residents in March 2020, and by quickly imposing social distancing rules and closures of non-essential services, Australia, with among the lowest death rates in the world, has weathered the pandemic relatively well compared to many other countries but some of its regions have been hit harder than others. Small outbreaks have led to short localised lockdowns and some state border closures. Vaccinations began in February 2021, with widespread vaccination expected by the end of 2021.


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