A NEW Deloitte Insights report has found fostering creativity and innovation in the workplace presents enormous ‘people’ opportunities that should be embraced and not viewed as a threat to jobs.

Titled The path to prosperity: Why the future of work is human, the report is part of the firm’s Building the Lucky Country series, and highlights the changing nature of work will have a significantly positive impact on productivity that should not be feared.

“There is clearly some anxiety about the future of work,” Deloitte Australia Chief Executive Officer Richard Deutsch said.

“Will robots send unemployment soaring? Will the advance of automation mean we lurch from one insecure job to another? Will new technologies keep our wage growth fixed to the floor?

“We say there’s no need to be scared, and that businesses need to be brave, not afraid. These myths aren’t just wrong, they’re potentially damaging if we allow them to take hold and lead to our making the wrong choices.

“People, and their unique interpersonal and creative skills, will be central to the future of work, and how we structure this future, and prepare our workers, will say a lot about us as a society. Our decisions now will be a key driver of our economic success. After all, for every problem there’s a job, and the world isn’t running out of problems.”

Deloitte Access Economics partner, and lead report author, David Rumbens said there is no dystopian future of rising unemployment, aimless career paths and empty offices.

“Yes, technology is driving change in the way we work, and the work we do, but it’s ultimately not a substitute for people,” he said.

“Technology is much more about augmentation than automation, and many more jobs will change in nature because of automation, rather than disappear altogether.

“We can use technology to our advantage to create more meaningful and productive jobs involving more meaningful and well-paid work. And making better choices to facilitate this, could boost national income in terms of GDP by $36 billion a year.”

Parallels to AMMA new horizon report

Much of the analysis aligns with A New Horizon: Guiding Principles for the Future of Work, the most future-focused report released by Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA in two decades.

“While some groups are using fear and uncertainty about the changing nature of work to argue for protectionism and interventionist policy approaches, the Deloitte report further dispels over-inflated fears about the future of work,” AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said.

“There are enormous opportunities presented by the future of work, forecasting a $36 billion national prosperity dividend.

“AMMA’s report into the future of work notes that technology could create around $320 billion in value-add to the global mining sector over the next decade, of which Australia is a dominant player and would benefit enormously.”

Mr Knott said unlocking productivity gains should be a priority for the 46th Parliament of Australia.

“This is an opportunity the government must seize through pursuing future-focused workplace regulation to create a new system of regulation fit for a prosperous, productive and competitive future,” he said.

“The sector’s changing future skills needs driven by automation, robotics and artificial intelligence is also reflected in the National Resources Statement, released by the Australian Government earlier this year.”

A separate report by Ernst & Young, also released last week, was more alarmist, warning the economy was at an automation “tipping point” after finding a majority of employers were now pouring money into artificial intelligence as a priority.

But despite companies expecting to shed one out of 10 jobs over the next three years, and predicting new roles to fill the vacuum, two-thirds surveyed had only a basic capacity to transition workers to new ways of working, EY said.