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Changing Nature of Employment in Australia

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Ned K.

There are some predictions by capitalist think tanks like KPMG that 40% of today's jobs will no longer exist in 2025. The common reason given for this is the march of technological change driven by competition between capitalists.

Thousands of the jobs that will no longer exist are in manufacturing but there are many more thousands of jobs in other industries that will disappear such as check-out assistants at supermarkets. 

New jobs will come in to being but on current trends they are likely to be casual or part time or disguised in some form of self-employment. This has significant implications for the working class movement as it means that the numerical strength of the industrial proletariat of Australia of the 20th Century has diminished while the numerical strength of the working class in other industries has increased and will continue to do so.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics provides data on where the top 20 employing occupations will be in 2021. The list is worthwhile setting out for Vanguard readers so we can reflect on what this means for our communities and our struggles.

1. Sales Assistants 618,600
2. Nurses 308,800
3. General clerks/administration staff 262,400
4. Accountants 219,400
5. Electricians 191,600
6. Child carers 188,600
7. Aged care/disability sector Carers 183,4008. 
8. Truck drivers 183,300
9. Receptionists 166,000
10. Primary school teachers 163,500
11. Secondary school teachers 144,500
12. Waiters 139,000
13. Office managers 136,300
14. Carpenters and joiners 135,900
15. Storepersons 135,500
16. Kitchenhands 135,500
17. Accounting clerks 133,900
18. Advertising, public relations and sales managers 132,500
19. Commercial cleaners 129,300
20. Software and applications programmers 116,300

Notable absences from the top 20 occupations are mining, construction workers (other than carpenters and joiners listed at number 14, and manufacturing workers.

The ABS top 20 do not reveal what kind of employment will exist in all of these occupations. How many will be labour hire and whether they all provide a living wage as defined in 2025 will depend to a large degree on how the class struggle plays out within each industry and across all industries.

What is pretty certain though is that revolutionary leaders of the 21st Century working class will arise from some unexpected occupations compared with those of the 20th Century, but arise they will.


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