Talk Money with Tony Field – October 22, 2015


The pace of technological change is accelerating and that could put almost half of our jobs at risk within the next few decades.

That is the prediction in a report released by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ). It was prepared by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER).

The NZIER says it is not just manual labouring roles that will be affected.

It says there is an almost 80 percent probability of job losses for labourers, machinery operators, drivers, clerical and administrative staff.

Sales staff will be affected too. So will technicians and trades people.

The NZIER says financial services, public administration staff, scientific and technical services jobs will be affected as well, although the risks of redundancy are lower.

Rural workers and men will be most at risk of being made redundant. The NZIER says this could accelerate the shift of workers from rural areas to the cities.

But disruptive technology also creates new jobs and new opportunities in sectors like software development and gaming. The NZIER points to Xero, Rocket Lab and gaming company Gameloft.

"To support firms like these, our education system needs to teach flexibility, adaptability and lifelong learning skills to prepare kids to enter occupations that we can't even conceptualise yet," says NZIER principal economist Aaron Drew.

The researchers predict that at least as many jobs as those displaced should be created in the "long run".

They say technological progress has not led to an ever increasing unemployment rate in New Zealand. More jobs will be created in occupations that require good social skills. They predict that people who can blend their social skills with exceptional technical skills will be particularly well rewarded.

"We don't know what new industries or occupations will be created as a consequence of technological change – that is the known unknown – but the numbers are likely to be in the tens of thousands for the New Zealand workforce," says NZIER.

The institute also worked with Colmar Brunton to survey 2300 people on their attitudes to disruptive technology.

Sixty percent of those surveyed believe technological change has lifted their productivity.

Five percent said that their productivity had dropped in the past five years as a result of new technology.

The research found that New Zealand workers are pragmatic about how they need to prepare for disruptive technology.

A third of those surveyed would like their employers to help them to up skill and move into new jobs. But 44 percent think the responsibility for preparing should fall on the individual. A quarter think it is the Government's role.

Here is my talk with Paul Henry about the report.

The full report can be found here.

The New Zealand Innovators Awards took place last night, with the top prize going to Kode Biotech.

It won the Supreme Innovator Award for its cancer immunotherapy technology. Immunotherapies are designed to amplify an immune response treatment.

The treatment involves injecting cells that mimic toxic animal tissue into tumours. As the immune system naturally rejects animal tissue, it attacks the tumour.

In June, Kode Biotech signed a licensing agreement with a British company.

Shares in luxury car maker Ferrari raced away after debuting on the US market.

The stock rose 15 percent to US$60 at the start of the trading day, after being listed at US$52 a share.

Before the listing Fiat Chrysler owned 90 percent of the company, with the remainder of the shares owned by the Ferrari family.

Fiat Chrysler sold 17.2 million shares to raise almost US$900 and to help reduce its debt levels.

The stock price put on the brakes as the day went on, closing up 5.7 percent at US$55.

Petrol prices have fallen back to where they were in April.

Yesterday both BP and Z Energy dropped their national price for 91 octane petrol to just under $1.96 a litre.

It was the fourth two cent price cut in a week.

Petrol is being sold even more cheaply at some stations.

Prices are falling due to the strengthening New Zealand dollar and weaker international fuel prices.

Although attention is paid to the price of crude oil the product that local petrol companies import is refined fuel, usually traded in the Singapore market.

The New Zealand dollar has slipped overnight against the American dollar.

At 8am it was trading at 67.29 US cents, down 0.376 percent.

The Kiwi had risen against the Australian dollar, up 0.18 percent to 93.19 cents.

It was trading at 43.63 British pence, 80.67 Japanese yen and 59.32 Euro cents.

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