Impact in Australia: Building a Stronger Digital Future
Digital technology can help address current national challenges by boosting productivity and driving sustained economic growth. Through greater digital adoption, businesses can achieve greater efficiency and reduce costs in today’s challenging environment characterised by high inflation and interest rates. Moreover, embracing these advancements creates avenues for new job opportunities, underscoring the importance of bridging existing digital skill gaps to better position Australia for the future.
To fully capitalise on the potential benefits of digital technology, Australia must continue investing in local technology infrastructure, capabilities, research and partnerships. By being at the forefront of technological breakthroughs, Australia can pave the way for a prosperous and inclusive digital future. In alignment with this vision, Google is actively investing and developing initiatives to address emerging economic and social challenges, while fostering an inclusive digital ecosystem for all Australians.
Digital technology helps boost growth, productivity and build resilience
Digital technology is a cornerstone of Australia’s economic growth. By improving productivity alongside employment growth, Australia can ensure the prosperity of its economy. Studies have found that greater adoption of digital technology has the potential to increase Australia’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate by 0.7%-1.2%. Furthermore, up to 46% of the current work activities in Australia could be digitised using advanced technology such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced robotics. This can boost productivity, drive income and economic growth, and potentially contribute up to $4 trillion to the economy over the next 15 years.
Digital technology continues to be a key enabler for business growth across most sectors. The manufacturing sector, for instance, has experienced a decline in GDP contribution from 7.4% to 5.5% between 2010 and 2021. However, technology is rejuvenating the sector with the application of new and advanced technology, characterised by AI-enriched simulation training for new employees, optimisation of automated production lines, and enhanced precision engineering processes enabled by the use of robotics. At the same time, cloud computing enables cost reduction in IT operations by simplifying the process of expanding and upgrading hardware and software, making it more affordable for organisations. In fact, 51% of businesses in Australia are actively seeking to adopt cloud services, with potential cost savings being a motivation.
Bridging the digital skills gap is critical to facilitate economic growth. Equipping the workforce with digital skills is key to seizing new growth opportunities presented by digital technology. Studies have estimated that the current digital skills gap is costing Australian businesses $3.1 billion annually. Currently, 87% of jobs in Australia require employees to have digital skills, and by 2030, the country will likely require another 286,00 technology workers. It is crucial to prioritise the upskilling and reskilling of employees to ensure that they possess the necessary digital competencies that contribute to Australia’s digital economy. By investing in the development of a digitally skilled workforce, Australia’s economy is better prepared to embrace the innovation and transformation brought about by new technology.
Google helps Australian businesses to digitise and grow
Google empowers Australian businesses to boost productivity and growth, employ Australians, and foster resilience. Google products, many of which are powered by AI, enable businesses to expand their market reach at home and abroad, and provide tools to unlock business efficiencies and productivity improvements. In 2022 alone, Google products have enabled over 1.6 million Australian businesses to establish direct connections with their customers through calls, messages, bookings, and more. In addition, Google Workspace enables significant time savings of up to 24 working days per employee annually.1 This includes time saved by accessing, storing, and sharing online documents for work and from reduced meetings and more efficient collaborations. The impact of Google products extends beyond convenience and productivity. Google products contribute significantly to the economy, supporting an estimated $51.8 billion in economic activity for Australian businesses.2 Additionally, 158,500 jobs are directly supported by Google’s advertising products, with a further 222,000 jobs enabled across businesses’ supply chains.
Google also supports inclusive growth among organisations in Australia. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and not-for-profit organisations across every stage of digitisation benefit from Google products. Australia’s SMBs stand to grow their profits and operate more efficiently by adopting Google products as they are easy to learn and often free to use (refer to Box 1 for examples). A sizable $32.2 billion of economic activity in Australia is attributable to SMBs annually, and out of the 158,500 jobs supported by Google in the country, it is estimated that 66% of these jobs, or 104,400, are in SMBs (Exhibit 1).
Additionally, these benefits are well spread across the country, with all states and territories benefitting from the use of Google products. Economic activity supported by Google products spans from $506 million and 1,500 jobs in the Northern Territory to $16.5 billion and 50,400 jobs in New South Wales (Exhibit 2).
Furthermore, Google has also been actively supporting not-for-profit organisations with in-kind Google ads through Ad Grants worth approximately $82 million in 2022, allowing them to promote their organisations, recruit volunteers, attract donors, and more.
Box 1. Google has empowered Australian businesses to thrive and expand through its products and solutions
Google helps JB Hi-Fi deliver an enhanced customer experience
JB Hi-Fi, Australia’s leading home entertainment and electronics retailer, has always been known for its highly personalised in-store service. With the retailer’s website becoming an increasingly popular touchpoint with customers, JB Hi-Fi wanted to deliver that same in-store experience online and at scale. They turned to Recommendations AI, a machine-learning powered Google Cloud product, to create highly personalised product recommendations – a process that was previously managed manually. Armed with insights from Google Analytics, Big Query, and Looker Studio about their customer’s needs and behaviours on the site, JB Hi-Fi were able to extend and improve the quality of recommendations online. The verdict came in quickly: both the average transaction value and monthly transaction revenue increased and the conversion rate for products offered on the homepage improved – ultimately allowing JB Hi-Fi to better align the online experience with the same personalised and knowledgeable service in-store.
Bulk Nutrients builds its business through Google Ads
Without a large marketing budget, Tasmanian sport supplements company Bulk Nutrients was determined to build a home-grown brand by selling directly to clients. By leveraging the reach and targeting capabilities of Google Ads, the nutrition brand has been able to show up when customers searched for related terms around protein powder and nutritional supplements. By combining Google Ads and Search Engine Optimisation, the company’s revenue has risen over the past 3 years, supporting close to 35% of its revenue in 2022.
Google supports Australia’s digital future by facilitating the country’s digital transformation efforts and digital inclusiveness. In 2021, Google Australia announced the Digital Future Initiative, a $1 billion initiative to invest in Australia’s infrastructure, research, and partnerships. The establishment of research partnerships and the Google Research Hub has enhanced Australia’s research capability, allowing it to gain $1.5 billion in net present value terms over the next decade. These gains will likely spill over into other aspects, including more jobs, increased productivity, accelerated innovation and improved economic activity over time.
Google is also narrowing the digital skills gap and setting Australians up for jobs of the future. By investing in various upskilling and certification programs such as Grow with Google and Google Career Certificates in Australia, Google aims to equip people with the skill sets to help narrow the digital gap in the workforce and better prepare Australians for future job requirements. Last year, Google announced that it will provide 10,000 scholarships focused on women and Indigenous Australians to support a more diverse talent pipeline in Australia’s technology sector.
Source: “Google’s first Girls in STEM Day with students from across Western Sydney” (Google Blog)
Australians can make better, smarter decisions because of Google products, saving them time and money
Google products enhance access to information, helping Australians make better decisions. These products are designed to be helpful, providing users with useful and relevant information. For example, Google Maps can help reduce travel times and petrol costs through effective navigation, and Google Search can help people find the best deal on a product they are seeking. Across work, education, shopping and entertainment, better decision-making can translate into a series of highly tangible benefits, such as hours saved, mileage reduced, improved purchase decision making and reduced costs. Through the use of Google products, Australian households enjoy $19.0 billion worth of economic benefits annually3 – equivalent to a benefit of $739 per Australian Internet user per year. This is especially critical against the backdrop of Australia’s rising costs of living and interest rates.
As Australia looks to build a stronger digital future, Google products and solutions will continue to contribute significantly to the country’s economy, its businesses and its people. By embracing these technologies, Australia becomes more resilient and competitive; and is better equipped to cope with economic and societal impacts. Google is at the forefront of this digital transformation, empowering businesses and individuals alike to realise their full potential and thrive in their personal and professional pursuits.