Posted: Jun 20, 2019 05 min. read

The future of work is human

There are > 900,000 skills in short supply in finance and insurance, today

With skills increasingly becoming the job currency of the future, a new Deloitte report - The Path to Prosperity: Why the future of work is human - finds that the future of work has a very human face. Yet Australia has a worsening skills shortage that requires an urgent response from business leaders and policy makers.  

In finance and insurance, there are currently more than 900,000 skills in short supply today. This is equivalent to a worrying 2.1 skills short of the 18 skills employers demand per person. By 2030 that shortage will have risen to more than one million - equivalent to 2.2 skills per employed person.

Customer service most in demand

Of all these skills customer service is the skill most in demand in the industry, and at present it is expected to be the skill in the greatest short supply in 2030.

The report breaks down the types of skills the FS sectors require and their shortfall today as:

  • Customer service (175,000 - 19%)
  • Organisation and time management (142,000 - 15%)
  • Resolving conflicts (128,000 - 14%)
  • Problem solving (124,000 - 14%)
  • Leadership (102,000 - 11%)


To counter these skills shortage, Deloitte Access Economics recommends that businesses embrace and invest in on-the-job learning and skills enhancement.

If Australia gets its approach to the future of work right, from 2030 it could deliver a tidy $36 billion national prosperity dividend.

Type of work 


To date we have had a boom ride in finance and insurance services; employment in the industry has grown around 8% in the last decade.

Our forecasts suggest that headcount in the industry will continue to grow over the next decade. However, with the need to constrain costs ever-present, that growth rate is slowing. There is no question that technology has - and will - change both the way we work, and the work we do.

While technology will impact jobs, it’s not a substitute for people. In general it augments work and replaces the repetitive, routine jobs, leaving the more interesting and challenging work for humans. Although many jobs have already changed due to automation, it is helping create more meaningful and productive jobs involving more meaningful and well-paid work. 

Worthy of note:
Banking and finance professionals hold a range of transferrable skills – from finance to sales and customer service – which are demanded across a range of industries and professions.

The key is to recognise skills as opposed to the occupation.


Myths busted

Myth 1:
Robots will take the jobs. Technology-driven change is accelerating, yet unemployment in Australia is the lowest since 2011. New technologies are automating many tasks, but also creating as many jobs as they kill, and employment is growing in roles that are hardest to automate.

Myth 2: People will have lots of jobs over their careers
. Despite horror headlines, work is becoming more secure, not less, and Australians are staying in their jobs longer than ever. Nor is the gig economy taking over. Casual jobs are a smaller share of all jobs than 20 years ago, and that share hasn’t moved in 10 years. The rate of self-employment has also been falling for almost 50 years and is at a record low.

Myth 3: People will work anywhere but the office.
The office isn’t going away any time soon, and city CBDs will remain a focal point for workers. More people work flexibly, but on a given day, only one in every 25 workers works remotely, despite almost one in five Australian employers offering work from home options. Being physically close to other creative people is more important, not less, with working together helping us collaborate and socialise, and providing infrastructure and support.

More than 80% of the jobs created between now and 2030 will be for knowledge workers, and yet something new is happening.

Jobs increasingly need us to use our hearts – the interpersonal and uniquely human skills of creativity, customer service, caring for others, and collaboration. Australia faces real skills shortages in these areas (89%). The ‘heart’ skill shortfalls in finance and insurance services are particularly in customer service (19%) and resolving conflicts (14%).

Even though employers would prefer three million more people with digital literacy skills than currently available, surprisingly, this shortfall is less than the customer service skill shortages.

So what should we do to prepare for the future of work?

  • Identify the human value – Identify which jobs can be automated, outsourced to technology such as AI, and which are uniquely human.
  • Forecast future skills needs – Understand the skills, knowledge, abilities and personal characteristics of your employees.
  • Re-train, re-skill, and re-deploy.
  • Involve people in learning programs – Those doing the work are best placed to identify the skills needed to succeed.
  • Talk about technology honestly – And generate new ideas for managing change.
  • Manage the robots – Introduce digital governance roles to evaluate the ethics of AI and machine learning.
  • Use mentoring and apprenticeships – These models are re-emerging as an effective way for business to develop a future-ready workforce.
  • Recruit and develop social and creative skills – e.g. empathy, judgement, and collaboration.

If you want to see how prepared your organisation is for the Future of Work, take our short diagnostic survey

Please reach out to Michael Williams, Partner Human Capital Financial Services or Jessica Mizrahi, Associate Director, Deloitte Access Economics for further information. Read more about the article here.

Meet our authors

Michael Williams

Michael Williams

Partner, Consulting

Michael works with Financial Services industry clients in all areas of Human Capital. He has worked extensively in the Asia Pacific and European regions. His areas of expertise include Business Transf

Jessica Mizrahi

Jessica Mizrahi

Associate Director, Deloitte Access Economics

Jessica provides practical policy advice and thought leadership for industry and government clients. She has guided projects in a range of industries, with deep experience in financial services, the d