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Automation report: Regional Australia to be hit hardest

Research by jobs website Adzuna reveals 1 in 3 jobs are at risk of automation Australia-wide by 2030.

The report uses data from the government study Future workforce trends in NSW: Emerging technologies and their potential impact, and recent job vacancy and salary data from

Key points from the report include:


  • Jobs in South Australia most at risk (41 %).


  • Regional Australia to be hardest hit.


  • Jobs in Sydney and Melbourne are safest.


  • Eight out of ten of the jobs least at risk of being automated are in the healthcare industry.



Rank State % Total jobs at risk
1 South Australia 41%
2 Northern Territory 34%
3 Western 35%
4 Queensland 35%
5 Victoria 35%
6 Tasmania 33%
7 New South Wales 31%
8 A.C.T 29%
Rank Capital City % Total jobs at risk
1 Sydney 15%
2 Melbourne 16%
3 Perth 21%
4 Brisbane 30%
5 Adelaide 31%
6 Darwin 34%
7 Hobart 38%


The data shows a huge disparity between the percentage of jobs at risk in capital cities compared to their respective states. Just 16% of jobs are at risk in Melbourne, whereas 35% are at risk of automation across Victoria as a whole.

Adzuna CEO Raife Watson says, “We run the real risk of mass unemployment in our regions and over-population of our major cities.”

“As it stands, Australians who work in manual jobs in regional Australia will face high levels of unemployment over the next decade and will have little choice but to up-skill and move to cities like Sydney and Melbourne,” Mr Watson said.

A recent report by Adzuna comparing job vacancies in Sydney and Melbourne with regional NSW and regional Victoria revealed the already stark difference in competition for jobs.

In Sydney, 3.6 job seekers compete for job vacancies, while 8.0 job seekers compete for roles in regional NSW. Ninety-five percent of finance jobs in NSW are in Sydney, as are eight out 10 trade and construction jobs in NSW.

In Victoria the picture is similar. In the city, there are 6.1 job seekers competing for every vacancy compared with 10.4 in regional Victoria. Across the state, nine out of 10 jobs in trade and construction or sales are in the Melbourne region.

Jobs most at risk Average advertised salary
Butcher $57,313
Labourer $71,438
Machine Operator $58,190
Driver $72,224
Cashier/teller $57,720
Jobs least at risk Average advertised salary
Podiatrist $151,662
Occupational Therapist $86,229
Pharmacist $138,741
Hotel Manager $85,407
Psychiatrist $183,457


The study also revealed the average salaries for jobs likely to be replaced by robots is much lower, $63,337 when compared to those unlikely to be affected, $129,099. These findings are in line with the Future Workforce Trends in NSW report, which states that low-paying and low-skilled jobs will be impacted most.

Jobs in accountancy made it into the top twenty professions at greatest risk of being automated.

Watson says not all white-collar jobs are immune from automation.

“New technology is introduced almost every day. Specific types of programmers that were in high demand five years ago now have skills that are obsolete.”

“Australians must be vigilant and continue to think about jobs that will be difficult to replace in the future. Build a career in a job that requires emotional intelligence and tasks that cannot be replicated by a machine,” Mr. Watson said.

About the report

The likelihood of jobs being automated over the next 10-15 years was determined using the 2015 report Future workforce trends in NSW: Emerging technologies and their potential impact. The probability of NSW jobs being automated was applied to the whole of Australia. State and capital city rankings were calculated based on the percentage of total job vacancies in each state and capital city that had a probability of >90% of being automated