Canberra is better placed than most Australian cities to adapt to the changing nature of work brought about by automation, artificial intelligence and big data, a new report has shown.
A study of 25 Australian cities for so-called knowledge capital and knowledge economy found the Canberra-Queanbeyan region is one of the best prepared Australian locations for the technological revolution and knowledge transition.
Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra-Queanbeyan, Brisbane and Perth made up the top five rankings, while the remaining 20 cities were found to have knowledge limitations and concerns about how the changing nature of work will impacting different urban areas.
The report, by the University of Canberra's Faculty of Business, Government and Law, found cities that have traditionally relied on manufacturing and mining industries for employment now lack sufficient knowledge capital for future work, with many not developing required knowledge economy to respond successfully to the arrival of new technologies.
A lack of adaption in the bottom 20 cities could see poor economic outcomes as new knowledge becomes critical to prosperity and employment.
The report cites the importance of education of overseas students as Australia's third largest export commodity, coming as automation leads to mass replacement of workers with machines, with some experts predicting a net 50 per cent loss of employment within 30 years.
It defines knowledge cities as "fundamental drivers of innovation and creativity for the prosperity of a nation's economy" and those least susceptible to the impacts of technological advancement.
"Canberra stands out as one of Australia's leading knowledge cities, despite its comparatively small population and employment bases," the report said.
"It has higher proportions of its population with both knowledge capacity and who are actually working in the knowledge economy than any other city."
The report found the Canberra-Queanbeyan region was a leader in all indicators except smart work, which measures the number of workers who do not commute but work from home.
Considered a key indicator of changing work practices, Canberra scores lower because of public service traditions and the ability of workers to commute to work in 30 minutes or less.
Canberra – Queanbeyan was found to have the the highest proportion of professionals in Australia at 28.7 per cent, followed by clerical and administrative workers at 19.3 per cent, while 15.5 per cent were managers, 10.5 per cent were technicians and trades workers and 9.3 per cent were community and personal service workers.
The regional includes 31.8 per cent of the population who attended a tertiary or technical institution, the highest level of all Australian locations.
The workforce includes:
- 19.3 per cent of people worked for the federal government
- 6.0 per cent worked in Defence
- 3.8 per cent worked in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services
- 3.6 per cent worked in school education
- 3.5 per cent worked in tertiary education
Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Launceston, Bunbury and Bendigo made up the bottom five ranked cities in the report.