Workforce implications of transport digitalisation and automation
This project aims to develop a deeper understanding of the workforce implications resulting from the digitalisation, and automation of transport in the context of the Australian market. Although not the main focus of the study the project will also consider other adjacent technologies and trends – such as electrification – which are evolving at the same time.
The project will assess the future skills gaps and training needs in Australia as a result of technological change and will identify new job opportunities from the introduction and operation of automated transport interventions such as automated ride-sharing and public transport services, automated freight vehicles, and automated ports and vessels.
Outcomes from this work will contribute to a better understanding of the types of occupations and sectors that will potentially be most affected by automation and digitalisation of transport to help the Department in developing strategies to assist employers and workers with reskilling and training programs to transition them to the new digital workforce requirements.
This project comes in response to the evolving workforce requirements in the face of increasing adoption of digital technologies in transport including planning, implementation and management of services, products and networks for transport and mobility use.
To achieve these objectives, the project will rely on desktop research and analysis of future skills needs supplemented by stakeholder consultations to determine the extent of the current and future anticipated needs and identify key actions and strategies to address any gaps in this rapidly changing transport ecosystem.
The deployment of advanced technologies in the transport sector will present challenges as well as opportunities for workforce development in Australia. There is emerging concern that Australia may face skills challenges in relation to digitalisation and automation of transport systems. At the same time, widespread deployment of these technologies will also present opportunities to open-up new industry sectors and occupations that were not present previously.
For example, in the automated vehicles space, these types of potential opportunities may free up human resources from driving/operation tasks to be diverted to a more customer service-focused tasks e.g. public transport, the provision of services while on transportation. It may also assist certain sectors in early identification of skills gaps or potential retraining opportunities from one occupation to the other, i.e. occupations with a certain number of common skills that can be slightly adapted to meet future technology sectors–e.g. computer analyst to work on automated vehicle technologies.
This project will contribute to the understanding of the extent of these issues and attempt to summarise current and prospective skills and training needs in the transport and mobility sector, and identifying key ways in which any gaps could be addressed — with a key focus on the skills needed to enable greater digitisation (and the productivity it unlocks).
The project outcomes will help to highlight the skills gaps and develop national cohesion in the discussion of skills and training requirements in the transport and mobility sectors.
The main objective of this work is to investigate how best to create an optimally skilled transport and mobility workforce of the future in the face of digitalisation and technological advancement. To achieve this, the project will identify evidence-based key findings on:
- The emerging skills required in the transport sector from a digitisation perspective (what will be demanded by transport businesses, their clients, and the community).
- Any evidence of an emerging skills gaps.
- How transport firms intend to respond to any emerging skills gaps.
- Practices and approaches being implemented by business and government overseas to address skills gaps in transport occurring as a result of greater digitalisation.
- How will transport digitalisation and automation impact the current workforce and job market, and what are the potential new job opportunities that could emerge from widespread technological developments in the transport industry?
This project will focus explicitly on future skills needs (i.e. impacts of transport digitalisation and automation) rather than current skills needs which may be addressed through other processes.
Through desktop studies, surveys, and stakeholder consultations this project will determine the extent of the current and future anticipated needs, and identify any key actions and strategies required to meet these needs in a rapidly changing transport ecosystem. The project also aims to build cohesion and leadership in Australia to promote discussions around shaping the future directions of this important and vital economic sector.
Successful completion of this will help to develop a good understanding of the skills gaps, training requirements and future workforce needs of the Australian transport and mobility industry.
UPDATE: March 2023
This project has now been completed. A summary article about the project, its methodology and findings, will soon be published. It will include a downloadable version of the full, final report.
UPDATE: April 2023
A webinar about the findings from this project was held on 26 April 2023. The webinar was entitled Our changing transport and mobility workforce – understanding and addressing future skills gaps. Watch a recording of the webinar at VIDEO: Understanding and addressing future digital skills gaps