Anne Stahl

40% of today's jobs could disappear in the next decade

MORE than five million jobs Australian jobs that exist today could disappear over the next 10-15 years because of technological changes.

The figure represents 40% of the total workforce but could reach as high as 60% in rural and regional areas.

The Committee for the Economic Development of Australia report released on Tuesday examined the probability of job losses through computers or automation.

CEDA chief executive Stephen Martin said while there would be massive changes in employment over coming years it did not mean mass unemployment.

"The pace of technological advancement in the last 20 years has been unprecedented and that pace is likely to continue for the next 20 years," he said.

"While we have seen automation replace some jobs in areas such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing, other areas where we are likely to see changes are, for example, the health sector, which to date has remained largely untouched by technological change.

"Our labour market will be fundamentally reshaped by the scope and breadth of technological change, and if we do not embrace (it) we will simply be left behind in an increasingly competitive global marketplace."

Another report released on Tuesday showed digital technology was one of the fastest growing parts of Australia's economy, but the number of IT graduates had declined significantly since the early 2000s.

The Australia's Digital Pulse report revealed a further 100,000 IT workers would be needed over the next six years to cope with the expected 2.5% annual growth across the sector.