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The workplace challenge facing Australia (spoiler alert – it’s not technology)

Sarah Kaine writes in The Conversation (27.2.19) about the low wage growth and job insecurity currently troubling the Australian labour force, suggesting that businesses and workers are at the mercy of mega-corporations.

‘With all the hype around the future of work, you could be forgiven for thinking the biggest issue in the future of employment is the impending takeover of your job by a robot or an algorithm.

‘Talk about the workplace of the future has become fixated on technological displacement almost to the point of hysteria. There is little doubt that technological development will change the way we work, as it has in the past.

‘But for most Australians the reality will be much less dramatic. The biggest changes in the working lives of Australians over the past 20 years have arguably not been technological – few of us are sending our avatars to meetings or writing code.

‘Many of us are, however, lamenting the paradox of feeling overworked yet, at the same time, insecure in our employment. A significant proportion contend with record low wages growth. Others remain less than fully employed.

‘Some will say that the rate of insecure or non-permanent work has remained fairly constant over the past two decades. This belies the lived experience of workers. They have repeatedly been found to perceive their connections to the workplace and labour market as precarious and laden with personal risk.’

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