Future of Jobs in the Hunter is the Hunter Research Foundation's special August luncheon. What is the format?
I’ll be releasing new HRF research, supported by Keolis Downer, that examines the future of six key sectors in the Hunter and some of the drivers of employment growth, the skills that will be required and where they will be located.
Our speaker Sue Beitz has worked at senior levels in government to develop policy and manage programs in the fields of employment, skills and education, and workplace relations. She also contributed to CEDA’s influential 2015 Australia’s Future Workforce report and will talk about industry transformation, in particular the implications of technological change for jobs and skills.
Prof. Bill Mitchell from the University’s Centre of Full Employment and Equity, and Geoff Crews from Forsythes Recruitment will then join Sue on a panel discussing the future of jobs.
Why should Hunter businesses attend?
No business is immune to the challenges confronting the Hunter in the tsunami of change washing over our economic and workforce structure, due to digital disruption, globalisation, and servitisation of industry. This event will help local businesses to anticipate the skills and workforce opportunities and challenges as they plan for future success.
Tell us more about the research to be unveiled?
The Future of Hunter Jobs project maps the current (2011 Census) dispersion of major industries throughout the Hunter region, and the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie industry concentrations, and concentrations of population in urbanised areas, generating travel between home and work, education, health and retail outlets.
HRF identifies key opportunities arising from the changing structure of our workforce and the challenges likely to influence the competitiveness of the Hunter economy in employment growth areas. We also draw out a range of strategies that could enable the region to generate high-value industries and employment, and to thrive and grow into the future.
Our speakers and panelists are experts in their fields and will bring their knowledge to the discussion.
What are the biggest challenges to the Hunter as mining and manufacturing job losses continue?
The new jobs being created in the Hunter are predominately in the lower-value services sector and we also see growing part-time and under-employment in the region. We have a rapidly ageing population, low projected population growth (less than 1% per annum over the next 20 years), and a proliferation of micro-to-small businesses. We are well served in business, retail and real estate services, which all face the threat of emerging technology and cost pressures from global competition, but lack the ICT and creative industries sectors that will utilise these same technologies to produce new jobs and export opportunities.
It's no secret that businesses must be agile, however many SMEs operating in traditional fields feel ill-equipped to do so. What's the answer?
Creative thinking is needed to develop new opportunities for small-to-micro businesses to participate in broadening their traditionally local market perspective. Enhanced clustering and collaboration and rapid adoption of new service-delivery models that leverage technology are necessary for success.
What are the major drivers that are changing the Hunter workforce?
They include population ageing, the impact of new technologies and digital disruption, globalisation and the Asian century, and service of industry.
What are key areas of opportunity for firms?
Hunter firms will need to boost the percentage of their workers with degrees or advanced education.Brent Jenkins
The Hunter will benefit from jobs growth in the six sectors reviewed with health care, business services, education and hospitality being the biggest sources of new employment.
What strategies can they adopt to move towards the new economies?
Support for Hunter firms to access the new market opportunities opening up through Australia’s free trade agreements will help companies grow into the future.
What are Hunter firms doing well and not so well at present?
Health care, business services, education, hospitality, and retail services have all established strong footholds in the region and have opportunities for significant growth. However, by 2020 the skills mix required will change, with increasing demand for more highly-skilled workers, who can leverage new technologies for delivery of services, both domestically and internationally. Hunter firms will need to boost the percentage of their workers with degrees or advanced education.
Does industry and business need to work together more?
Strong regional planning is required to attract new opportunities and investment to the Hunter and ensure that we continue to grow. Strong policy signals and new investment are needed if it is to maintain growth and continue the structural changes begun at the end of 2013.
Tickets to the August 17 HRF Future of Jobs in the Hunter luncheon via hrf.com.au.