Big contributor to workforce.

According to Australian business leaders,  one of the social benefits of digital transformation will be the creation of higher value jobs with an estimated 83% of jobs transformed in the next three years and 54% redeployed to higher value roles, or reskilled to meet the needs of the digital age.

Digital transformation will also add an estimated $45 billion to Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2021 and increase its growth rate by 0.5 per cent annually, according to a new study. The Microsoft study, ‘Unlocking the Economic Impact of Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific’, was produced in partnership with IDC Asia/Pacific.

However there are challenges facing organisations as they transform including lack of skills and resources along with siloed organizations and cultures resistant to change. This was despite the benefits of improvement in profit margin and productivity, as well as cost reduction and increased revenue from new products and services.

“Australia is clearly on the digital transformation fast track”, Microsoft Australia managing director, Steven Worrall said, “but at the same time, organisations are increasingly deploying emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence as part of their digital transformation initiatives, which will accelerate growth even further.”

However Worrall said it was important to note, transformation is about people as much as it is about technology. “The top two barriers to digital transformation cited in the study are strongly anchored in an organisation’s ability to empower their people and transform their organisations to take advantage of the opportunity that digital transformation represents,” he said.

Equipping the nation to succeed in the digital age, and ensuring all Australians benefit from it, must be a national priority if Australia is to remain competitive and maintain its record-breaking 26 years of economic growth, Worrall said. “Employers across all industries need to commit to helping workers prepare for the digital age.”

The study echoed recent comments Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe, who said that Australia’s future economy is likely to be built through investment in information technology and the skills in our labour force, rather than the natural resources which have been the backbone of the Australian economy for many years.

Microsoft advises that organisations relook at training and reskilling their workforces so workers are equipped with future-ready skill sets such as complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. More importantly, they need to rebalance the workforce to attain and attract key digital talent, as well as be open in creating a flexible workforce model where they tap into a skills-based marketplace.

From a digital skills perspective, a new study by LinkedIn outlined the ABCs of digital talents required for future economies in the region – artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing. In Australia, the top in-demand skills are big data, mobile development, as well as user interface and experience design.