Digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and automation are transforming the world of work. Developing the appropriate digital skills in the workforce is an important component in Australia’s effort to compete in this rapidly emerging global digital economy.

This research explores the current digital skills demand-and-supply situation in Australia for the general workforce (rather than for ICT specialists). The research approach includes a review of international frameworks of digital skills and case studies in the transport, postal and warehousing, and public administration and safety industries. These industries were selected because a key threat to their productivity, and therefore their contribution to the national economy, is a workforce with inadequate digital skills. A survey of human resources, skills and training decision-makers across Australian industry more generally was also undertaken, with specific attention given to the skills impact of digitalisation.

The research highlights that a multi-faceted approach from the Australian Government and industry stakeholders is required to enhance digital skills development in the general workforce. To facilitate this, the authors have developed a digital skills framework, whose purpose is to identify digital skills gaps within organisations and to assist in the development of targeted training programs.

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