The Future of Jobs

Current trends and disruptions will shape the future of our jobs. Which sectors of the Australian economy will offer growth and employment in the future? What challenges and opportunities do we face as individuals, employers, education providers and policy makers?

In our featured forum on The Future of Jobs we aim to explore a broad range of issues, including the Australian job market in the context of the global economy, disruptive technologies and the changing nature of work, youth unemployment and new career paths for young people, entrepreneurship and self-employment, the rise of freelance jobs and the ‘on-demand economy’, as well as mature-age and female workforce participation.

The featured forum will be leading up to the Global Access Partners Annual Growth Summit in Sydney on the 17th and 18th of September 2015 at NSW Parliament House with speakers and participants featured in this area.

If you would like to contribute a blog to join the debate, please contact Svetlana at sstankovic@openforum.com.au.


Early Childhood Education

The youngest minds of Australia will one day be its leaders. Researchers believe that preschool is a critical period to expand the educational equity and opportunity of children by giving them a strong start. When is the right time to get kids “school ready”?

For the next two months we will consider this question and others as we delve into the world of early childhood education.

We know that high-quality early childhood education can provide the foundation for achieving academic, health, and social goals. However, there is something to be said about letting kids be kids. Can “playing” and learning how to get along with other children be as important as getting a head start on reading and math? And how can we ensure that this same high-quality early education is available and affordable to children in disadvantaged communities?

We will talk with educators, researchers and parents, and we warmly encourage you to join this discussion.

Please contact Svetlana at sstankovic@openforum.com.au to share your thoughts and concerns with our online community.


In the last year we’ve had some significant changes in leadership on a political level – in Australia and abroad. It is obvious how much this shapes the course of events. A certain leadership style can inspire and unite or polarise and divide.

So what does it mean to be a good leader? Most would agree that it is someone who knows how to achieve goals and motivates people along the way. Is there a particular Australian style of leadership and if yes, what does it look like and in what way is it different?

Furthermore, how can we achieve a higher representation of female leadership throughout the Australian workforce and the broader community? Men have long dominated leadership positions. We see a more equal playing field today but gender inequality is still ripe in all areas of society. And what about Millennials in the workplace as they transition into future leaders – do they have what it takes?

It’s these and other questions that we’ll discuss in the coming two months, and we’d love to hear what you think! Please contact Svetlana at sstankovic@openforum.com.au with your questions and blog ideas.

Productive Ageing

In 1970, only 8% of Australians were older than 64. In 2050, it'll be almost a quarter. Pension age is increasing, but this still lags behind growing life expectancy.

According to the GAP report on Productive Ageing, two million older people are willing and able to work - in fact, their underemployment currently costs Australia $10.8 billion a year in lost GDP. An increase of 3% of workplace participation in people over the age of 55 would increase GDP by $33 billion, while 5% growth would see 750,000 benefit recipients become tax payers and give the economy a $48 billion boost.

So why aren't we employing Australia's mature citizens? Ageist prejudices persist, as a fixed retirement age labels people who reach it as unemployable. Besides affecting job prospects, ageism can have a profound impact on someone's confidence, financial situation and quality of life.

That we are living longer, healthy lives shouldn't be a threat - it is an opportunity to be seized. For the next two months, we will be exploring the many facets of productive ageing. Please contact Svetlana at sstankovic@openforum.com.au to share your story, opinion or blog idea.

Australia's health

For the next two months we will discuss Australia’s health in this forum.

Life expectancy in Australia is still among the highest worldwide. We have a functioning health system with competent and dedicated health professionals. But we need to do better with a multitude of challenges the sector is facing.

Healthcare costs are rising fast at a time when government is financially squeezed on multiple fronts. This year’s federal budget revealed significant cuts from the health system. At the same time the government has committed to a new e-health system, bringing the information management of our health data into the 21st century. Can myHealth lead to savings of billions of dollars as forecast by some?

We have a serious health gap problem, where poorer people, those living in remote areas and indigenous Australians are still not getting the full benefit of our health system.

And how healthy are we? The good news are that we live longer, smoke and drink less. But obesity rates are climbing and we don’t exercise enough. Chronic diseases and dementia numbers are rising.

How can we address the challenges in Australia’s health system? How can we improve patient outcomes? Are there any other pressing issues around this topic you think should be discussed? Please contact Svetlana at sstankovic@openforum.com.au and share your ideas and concerns with the Open Forum community.

Climate Change

There is no further need for debate over the reality of climate change – the science is incontrovertible. We are experiencing extreme weather patterns everywhere: longer heatwaves, more floods and bushfires. The polar ice is melting and iconic places like the Great Barrier Reef are at grave risk.

Leading up to the Climate Change Conference in Paris in December, we will discuss developments in Australia and worldwide. Where do we stand? How are we tracking? What happens after Paris? And is there any hope?

Australia is one of the largest emitter per capita. So far the new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he will not consider returning to the carbon trading scheme he once advocated. He ruled out changing the Coalition’s existing climate change polices and wants to stick with Direct Action.

As governments alone are too slow to act, we need to engage business and communities more than we do already. We have to make lowering carbon emission part of our national identity.

What are the economic opportunities in the fight against global warming? Can we have a clean energy revolution that will drive, not hinder, growth? Some anticipate that solar could be globally competitive with coal by 2020. Greenpeace has recently released a report stating that Australia could operate with 100% renewable energy by 2050. How can other new technologies help slow down or even reverse damage done by climate change?

What are the most pressing issues around climate change according to you? Please contact Svetlana at sstankovic@openforum.com.au and share your ideas and concerns with our online community.