IT must be cold comfort to the employees of Downer EDI, Simplot and Electrolux to know that their fears for the future are shared by many thousands more workers across Australia.
This week’s announcement from Qantas that they would be shedding 5000 jobs over the next three years is just the latest blow to Australian workers, but it certainly won’t be the last.
Manufacturing jobs have been the hardest hit in recent times, particularly those in the car industry, but it seems few sectors have been exempt.
And the troubles facing Qantas have even greater resonance for the general public as it is an iconic national brand, much like Holden.
Perhaps Australia is now going through a delayed financial crisis, having survived 2009 in better shape than most other nations.
But the news is not all bad for our country, and we should continue looking to the future with confidence.
The secret to our future success, though, will be capitalising on those industries we do better than anyone else.
Technology and innovation, in particular, remain real strengths of what is – on a global level – a wealthy, well-resourced and well-educated population.
Children in Australia still have greater opportunities than children born in most other countries and even as we debate the future of Medicare, we know Australians have better access to health services than many billions across the globe.
The greatest challenge, though, will be aligning the jobs of the future to the workforce of the past.
Many of those Australians now staring down the barrel of unemployment do not have the skills to thrive in a technological age, and many are too old to seriously consider retraining.
These are the people that must be supported by government – that is, the rest of the population – through this transition stage.
It’s the least a wealthy, well-resourced and well-educated country can do.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.