The world is witnessing an increasingly disruptive transformation of work, and one of the most urgent questions for Australian workers is whether they can cope.
This is especially true for those with advanced degrees and skills.
As automation takes hold, the need for people with these skills to stay in their jobs will become even more pressing, particularly in low-skill jobs.
One of the fastest-growing jobs in the global economy, IT is a huge employer in Australia, and the biggest employer in New Zealand.
A recent study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that about one-third of Australia’s IT jobs are held by companies that have fewer than 20 employees.
But the industry is facing a growing challenge, as companies increasingly rely on remote workers for key functions such as IT support, support for customer support, and logistics.
In the past, remote workers have largely been employed by software companies.
Now, they are increasingly employed by smaller companies such as cafes and restaurants.
The challenge for businesses with remote workers is that they are often underpaid, with many working on low wages.
In a recent study, Australian researchers found that of the 8,000 employees who received an average of about $10 an hour for their jobs in 2013, fewer than half had an hourly wage of $2.25 or more.
“What is driving the pay cut is the low cost of living in Australia,” said researcher Sarah Goulson from the Australian National University.
“There’s an expectation of lower cost of life in remote Australia, which means the average hourly wage is about $1.40 and the typical amount of paid overtime is around one hour a week.
This means if you are a remote worker, you are essentially working for a lower-paid employer.”
According to the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Australia has one of Australia.s highest average wages per hour of $18.20.
But a report from the Business Council of Australia found that more than half of Australia businesses that have employees in Australia do not pay workers at least $18 an hour.
With many low-skilled workers having to work from home, and many workers facing long shifts, it is a worrying trend for businesses to look to remote workers.
“It’s just a matter of when, not if, we see some of these low-wage workers leave the workforce,” said David Grewal, CEO of the Australian Business Council.
“I’m not saying they won’t stay in the industry, but the impact on the business will be really significant.”
“There are many workers who are in the middle of their career, or their family, who are leaving the workforce because they are in a lower wage bracket, or because they’re not earning enough money to support themselves,” he said.
“We can’t expect them to stay for long.”
What can you do?
It’s easy to talk to your colleagues about the issues that impact on your business.
But that doesn’t mean you should go into a job interview unprepared.
Instead, you should talk to someone from your company.
If your manager or HR manager is the person who has to speak with you, take them out for coffee and discuss the issues you care about.
Make sure they know how the job will affect you.
If they say they have concerns, talk to them about them.
If they feel like they are on the same page as you, ask if they can get in touch with you.
You might be surprised by what you can find out about your workplace.