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The future SME manufacturing workforce

manufacturing workforce

The new technological possibilities will certainly open up additional potential for the labour market, but the activities will be different from today and no one can predict exactly which jobs will be created.

Manual routine activities will increasingly be taken over by robots, algorithms, drones and chatbots, and the demands on the qualifications of employees will increase significantly. The core competencies of many jobs will shift, sometimes completely new skills will be required. Experts assume that just under 60 percent of all employees will need considerable further training measures by 2022 in order to remain in the job market.

A major focus will be on technological professions, some of which are only just being invented. The high potentials of the future can be found wherever humans are superior to machines. Manufacturing SMEs face the great challenge of implementing Industry 4.0 concepts, adapting business models, consistently digitising processes and creating unique customer experiences. This affects all areas of the company, from product development to procurement, sales and service.

Important fields of activity for the future include:

  • Provision of intelligent portals, platforms and services
  • Processing huge amounts of data in real time
  • Transfer of data analyses into strategies ( ERP and Business Intelligence)
  • Control of human-machine communication in production
  • Rapid prototyping and 3-D printing in product development
  • Predictive maintenance in maintenance
  • Integration of digital assistance systems such as Smart Glasses in logistics
  • Use of Augmented Reality in Service
  • Remote work

Here, employees who combine knowledge of IT and business are increasingly in demand, from data scientists to process designers and AI developers.

The change in core competencies

The fact is that today's young professionals can no longer expect to perform the same job for decades. In addition to professional competence, the willingness to engage in lifelong learning is therefore more important than ever. Human resources departments are relying less and less on a rigid set of qualifications in the curriculum vitae, but expect above all a modern mindset and more broad-based knowledge - so-called "T-Shaped People". In addition to the ability to master digital technologies and turn them into added value, the new working world demands above all analytical and innovative thinking as well as the ability to react agilely to changing job requirements and to acquire new know-how quickly and proactively. Soft skills and social skills such as communication talent, curiosity, empathy as well as the will to work in an interdisciplinary and intercultural environment are also becoming relevant success factors.

The demands on the employees of the future are high!

The educational level in Australia is good - but not (yet) good enough. Experts therefore fear a rise in the shortage of skilled workers and a resulting increasing war of talents. Among other things, the education system urgently needs to be adapted: mathematical and technical skills in schools must be promoted earlier and more strongly, as well as social and cognitive skills such as collaboration and networked thinking. Furthermore, a significantly accelerated adaptation of occupational profiles to the continuous changes in the economy is indispensable.

According to AUManufacturing Australia is falling behind as there is a lack of skilled workers to implement digitisation. Australia is in danger of losing touch with the competition. Especially in medium-sized companies there is a considerable discrepancy between already known and available technologies for digitisation and their application in companies.

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