Map: Melbourne 3000
Six-thousand retrenched National Australia Bank (NAB) employees start leaving from this week, largely from the bank’s Melbourne head office, as software takes over increasingly complex tasks.
It’s the crest of a digital wave flooding through banks, financial institutions, accounting and law firms, and if you’re doing a white-collar job that deals with information, you’re in for a bumpy ride.
The cuts — one in every five members of NAB’s workforce — were announced in November, the same day the bank revealed a $5.3 billion annual net profit.
Dominic Barton works for the world’s top CEOs, as global managing partner of consulting firm McKinsey and Company.
“For 60 per cent of jobs, 30 per cent of the activities are automatable,” he said.
“We’re not waiting five years, that’s happening now.”
In his view, automation and software that analyses information and makes decisions will transform the business landscape — doing jobs that, until recently, required well-paid “knowledge workers”. Find out what AI is, how it works, and what the benefits and concerns are.
“If you look in the next five to seven years the number of jobs that will be displaced — driven by technology in high-paying jobs … it could be in financial services and technology-related areas and so forth — is very significant,” he said.
“I don’t think we’re recognising the scale and speed with which that’s happening.”
Peter Chung is a finance professional who knows what it’s like to be “algorithmed” out of a job.
He was retrenched by NAB six months ago, despite holding multiple degrees, high-end skills and almost 30 years of experience with the company.
“I say [technology has] reduced the size of jobs … the content of jobs and therefore at the end of day the number of jobs available.” ‘Huge shift’ in type of jobs
But job losses are only part of the story.
NAB is letting go of 6,000 staff, but hiring 2,000 new people in the same period.
When technology takes over jobs, it can be easy to forget that it complements others.
Map: Melbourne 3000