With an estimated 250,000 jobs to be created by digitalisation by 2025, digital technologies are transforming industries and opportunities for professionals are growing in both traditional and emerging fields.

The Digital Transformation Expert Panel estimates that by 2034, technology will augment 4.5 million Australian workers, so the future is looking bright. 

To understand the future of digital careers and the opportunities technological advancements present workers, UNSW held a panel discussion with industry experts to delve deeper into the shift to digitalisation and what this means for employees and employers alike. The #CareersUnlocked panel consisted of speakers including Ben Moir, Digital Innovation Lead, Australia & New Zealand at Amazon Web Services, Anita David, Head of HR Technology at Macquarie Group and Arun Kannan, Head of Innovation, BFSI, ANZ at Tata Consultancy Services. 

During the panel, our expert speakers explored how digitalisation is changing industries and - more importantly - how you can capitalise on emerging technologies to gain new skills and position yourself at the forefront of your profession. “We are seeing a lot of advancement, the government is investing in digital economy strategy 2030, investing a lot of money to improve the digital skills of small businesses” Arun Kannan explained. 

Our panel explored how you can lead in organisations that are embracing diverse backgrounds, unique study combinations and customer-centric thinking when it comes to digitalisation. The key to doing so is developing broad skills and experience, complementary skillsets and adopting a lifelong learning attitude.

Digitisation presents significant opportunity for employees

Automation and digitalisation present significant opportunities for industries, and individuals in the workplace. The panel also examined how digitalisation drives the need for skill diversification towards ‘soft’ or human-centred skills and highlighted the necessity of upskilling and investing in a varied skill set.“We see a lot of employees are up-skilling by certifying in specific areas like data science.” Arun outlined.

Currently UNSW is seeing an increase in the demand for postgraduate programs, and we have created two new programs that meet the current industry demands. To diversify your skills you can study a Master of Information Technology with Master of Commerce or the Master of Engineering Science with Master of Commerce. Ben Moir explained the value of varied backgrounds, "having all those different perspectives and diversity in the room definitely helps with innovations and challenging the status quo.” 

With these diversified skills Arun explains that automation and digitalisation present significant opportunities for industries, customers, and individuals in the workplace, people can embrace opportunities to enhance their careers.” There’s a lot of change happening within different industries and it’s good to have diverse skills which brings a lot of value to the organisation, and in-turn the end consumer.”

Change is rapid so our skills need to evolve rapidly too. Anita shares how she adopted a learning mindset, “There are a lot of emerging technologies and I want to be one of the first to learn about them. You need to be constantly looking at what is on the horizon”. Technological advancements are evolving the way we work at a rapid rate, presenting abundant opportunities for employees to diversify their skill sets and propel their careers.  

Embracing change is the way forward 

One of the key areas professionals can benefit from the evolution of industries is job mobility. Mobility allows us to expand our existing skillset within an organisation and leverage existing skills. “You need to be comfortable with the unknown. Embrace the change and opportunity that automation and digitalisation challenges give you,” Anita aptly points out.

Ben Moir has one example from his organisation, “I think anecdotally, people are picking up extra skills. I had a developer in my team who is an amazing developer, one of the skills he decided to pick up was public speaking, within a few months he was presenting to very senior executives… and his career really took off. He was awarded a promotion based on his ability to influence business leaders”. 

Anita explained the importance of using a human-centred design approach when talking about a digital platform, The HUB, that was co-developed with internal customers at Macquarie. This involves constantly assessing emerging trends, understanding insights from industry and ensuring that, as individuals, we are equipped with the skills to harness these insights to meet customer needs.

Digitisation to make life – and work - easier 

While many fear digitalisation, Arun explains it won’t take jobs away but rather make work easier via efficient systems. “Digitalisation is creating valuable opportunities for the employee, it’s not a threat it’s complementing their work and efficiency. Companies can move into new segments with new product lines creating a lot of value for employees,” he says. This means employees are now able to focus on putting customers first and developing more human-centric designs and putting the customer first that helps in elevating the customer experience and also the efficiency improvement of your business transformation. 

Anita explains how the speed to market is decreasing, so we can offer better products to customers faster, when we start with the customer and adopt a more human-centred approach. “Now organisations can sit with their customers to understand their challenges and co-design product offerings that provide better solutions.”  

“We co-developed The HUB with our internal customers and as a result we were able to take it from ideation to minimum viable product in 18 weeks”, creating a seamless, digital solution for employees. Anita shared how The HUB became a blueprint for how Macquarie drives transformation across the enterprise with human-centred design at the core.  

Prepare yourself for an evolving future 

For those interested in taking the next step in your career, the University of New South Wales Engineering’s new dual masters will help you stand out in the industry. Learn more about the new dual Master of Information Technology and Master of Commerce or Master of Engineering Science and Master of Commerce by viewing our postgraduate degrees. We’re 29th in the world and 3rd in Australia for graduate employability (2022 QS Rankings) and we were the most-awarded university in the AFR Top100 Future Leaders Awards. UNSW offers teaching approaches that future-proof students for a fast-changing world and flexible degrees that build cross disciplinary knowledge and experience. 

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