An Arts Degree Might Just Robot-Proof Your Career

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As the workforce becomes increasingly automated, jobs requiring creative and emotional intelligence will be the most robot-proof, according to QUT Distinguished Professor Stuart Cunningham.

"Parents once worried about what use an arts degree was for their kids. Now the digital creative economy is a growth area for Australia and the rest of the world. Even the usually staid Australian Bureau of Statistics claims culture is big business," Professor Cunningham said.

In what some are terming a 'rise of the machines' era, a degree in one of the creative industries is an intelligent choice. According to Professor Cunningham, creative services like design, social media management and digital content have experienced much faster employment growth than the broader workforce.

"Economics strategist Andrew Charlton from AlphaBeta has been collecting online statistics and was recently quoted on his analysis of 4.2 million job advertisements in the past three years. He found a 212 per cent increase in jobs demanding digital literacy, a 158 per cent rise in jobs demanding critical thinking and a 65 per cent rise in jobs demanding creativity," Professor Cunningham said.

Professor Cunningham says many unskilled and repetitive jobs are under threat, as are some in the engineering, accountancy and science disciplines. However jobs that require the human touch -- creative and emotional intelligence -- are much less vulnerable.

"Being so resilient in the face of automation they will be the jobs that will grow over the next 20-plus years."

Professor Cunningham said the Creative Industries Innovation Centre report stated the total revenue generated from the creative economy in Australia each year amounts to $91 billion.

"Employment in creative industries has been growing much faster than the Australian economy as a whole. At this stage the total creative workforce amounts to more than 600,000 people with industry growth driven by the digital revolution and demand for digital and design services across the whole economy," Professor Cunningham said.

Australia mirrors an international trend. In December 2015 the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers released a study concluding the global cultural and creative industries revenue amounted to $US2,250 billion -- three per cent of the world's GDP.

It also reported that, globally, the cultural and creative industries sector accounted for 29.5 million jobs, which is more than the combined jobs of the automotive industry in Europe, Japan, and US.

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