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Today we have the technology to automate so many tasks in the workplace, yet we so often persist with antiquated manual processes and isolated systems that simply makes our work harder, leaving little capacity for being smarter. And automation is not restricted to the agricultural or the manufacturing industries but can be applied to the professions, corporate Australia and just about any industry.
Is automation the answer to an ageing population?
There are probably no surprises when comparing Australia’s census data of the past twenty years that it reveals a shift towards an ageing population. Indeed, the Federal Government has voiced concerns regarding the impact an ageing population will have on tax revenues and the government’s ability to maintain its level of spending on welfare and services for many years, however the ageing trend continues.
Delving a little further, the 2001 census revealed that 66.3 percent of Australians were within the typical working age range of between fifteen and sixty-four, 21.6 percent were pre-working age between 0 and fourteen and 12.1 percent were 65 plus years of age. In essence two in ten Australians were heading towards the working age group with only a little over one in ten Australians in retirement or heading that way.
However, the 2021 census data highlights how the sands have shifted. In 2021 the number of citizens aged 65 and over has spiked to 17 per cent, while the number of people fourteen years of age or younger has dropped to 19 per cent. In turn, the number of working age people in the middle has also dropped to 64 per cent. As the country continues to age and the number of workers who manufacture and deliver products and services continues to diminish, businesses also have a problem as meeting society’s production demands becomes even more challenging without an intervention.
There are two obvious solutions to this problem. One approach is to significantly adjust upwards Australia’s migration policy numbers to ensure more highly skilled younger workers are permitted to stay. While in theory this seems like a sound solution, other challenges arise such as the need to manage urban sprawl with additional housing and infrastructure to cater for the increased population.
The alternative solution not only addresses the skills shortage and productivity challenges but also addresses the lack of engagement so many workers experience in mind numbing roles that could be inexpensively handled through system and process automation. Today we have the technology to automate so many tasks in the workplace, yet we so often persist with antiquated manual processes and isolated systems that simply makes our work harder, leaving little capacity for being smarter. And automation is not restricted to the agricultural or the manufacturing industries but can be applied to the professions, corporate Australia and just about any industry.
So why do we continue to waste human intelligence on repetitive processes when this resource can be leveraged for better customer service, reduced operational costs that allows lower prices yet healthier margins, and a happier society with many more workers engaged in contributing more towards their employer’s goals?
Automation leads to a win all around.
Reach out if you would like to learn more about the best ways to introduce automation into your firm.
Robert Wagner, Managing Partner, Harriss Wagner Consultants & Advisers