New Technologies and the Transformation of Work and Skills: A Study of Computerisation and Automation of Australian Container Terminals

15 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2018

Date Written: November 2018

Abstract

The increasing adoption of smart computer and robotic technologies at work has, in addition to displacing workers, significantly disrupted the traditional organisation of work and the workforce skills required. Based on a qualitative social science study, this paper discusses the ways in which these changes have affected container terminals. Specifically, we examine the transformation in the nature and content of work and the types of skills required by the workforce for the enduring and emerging jobs. We conclude that a completely different port terminal worker has emerged with a different job role and skills profile. Unlike the traditional ‘wharfie’ the emerging terminal worker is well educated and highly skilled. Furthermore, as physical shop floor operations are computerised and automated, greater importance is placed on soft, generic and transferable skills, with increasing emphasis on computer skills to facilitate effective work within a highly mechanised and digitalised work environment.

Keywords: new technologies, future of work, container terminals, dockworkers, digital skills, computerisation and automation, transferable skills

Suggested Citation

Gekara, Victor Oyaro and Thanh Nguyen, Vi‐Xuan, New Technologies and the Transformation of Work and Skills: A Study of Computerisation and Automation of Australian Container Terminals (November 2018). New Technology, Work and Employment, Vol. 33, Issue 3, pp. 219-233, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3283246 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ntwe.12118

Victor Oyaro Gekara (Contact Author)

RMIT University ( email )

124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, 3000
Australia

Vi‐Xuan Thanh Nguyen

Quy Nhon University ( email )

Quy Nhon University
Vietnam

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