Tech Council lays path to 200,000 AI jobs by 2030

Brandon How

As many as 200,000 AI-related jobs could be created in Australia by 2030 if the federal government provides deliberate policy support, according to a new report by the Tech Council of Australia.

The Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Workday-backed ‘Meeting the AI skills boom’ report, to be published on Tuesday, argues that reaching an AI workforce of this size will require a roughly 500 per cent increase over seven years.

AI-related occupations include roles in sales and HR at AI companies, people involved in the management and regulation of AI, and other senior managers.

With the AI workforce already having grown from 800 in 2014 to 33,000 in 2023, the report makes five policy recommendations across migration reform, mid-career retraining, and entry-level training to deliver on the 2030 goal.

Photo: Anton Watman/Shutterstock

A previous report from the TCA, also backed by Microsoft, found that wide adoption of generative AI could add up to $115 billion to the economy by 2030, with much of the value stemming from productivity gains.

Tech Council chief executive Damian Kassabgi said the uptake of AI should be viewed as a job creator rather than a cause of job losses.

“Our view is – and the point of this report is – that we don’t believe AI is any different to other technologies that have come before it in relation to reskilling people and jobs changing, while at the same time the country is still in full employment,” Mr Kassabgi said.

“The point of this is not only that there are jobs [in AI now], but there’s going to need to be re-skilling and training, and we are going to need to think about immigration policy settings to make sure that we’ve got high-skilled individuals coming to Australia to help train us.

“This is not a doom and gloom perspective, but one of opportunity for Australia.”

To reach the 200,000 target, the TCA recommends the development of a ‘comprehensive AI Investment and Capability Plan for Australia’.

It should include “specific skills-based initiatives” and measures that target “investment, regulation and governance, digital infrastructure, research, commercialisation and positioning governments as an exemplar”.

A Modern Digital Apprenticeship program should also be implemented at a state and federal level alongside other industry credentials and training where appropriate.

The TCA is also reiterating its longstanding call for reforms to skilled migration to “competitively attract global talent with faster visa processing and the removal of occupation lists”.

LinkedIn Australia and New Zealand managing director Matt Tindale said “growing the number of AI development jobs could be achieved by offering alternative entry-level pathways, opportunities for mid-career retraining and upskilling in AI, and drawing on skilled migration, particularly for highly technical roles requiring experience.”

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