WRITER: Professor Marie Wilson
As a driver of economic and export growth for Australia, professional services are central to every business school’s strategy. And, not only do we provide professional services through our research, partnership and graduates, but we also connect to a global network of professional service firms, large and small.
Encompassing the provision of knowledge-based services, professional services provide support for business operations and investment decisions, including the investment decisions of individuals. These services include finance and insurance, engineering, architecture, design, accounting, legal, consulting, research, advertising, and computer systems design.
While most Australians are aware of economic value of large traditional industries like mining and manufacturing, fewer are aware that professional services have been one of the fastest growing sectors in the Australian economy, both in terms of output and employment. This reflects an increase in economic demand for what skilled labour can deliver, the increased outsourcing of business services by firms, and technological developments.
The professional services sector now represents more than 70 per cent of Australia's gross domestic product (GDP), employs four out of five Australians, and accounts for approximately 40 per cent of our export earnings. Without doubt, services surround us, and we are increasingly reliant on them.
But who do we trust? In our article, A Matter of Trust, we note leading social commentator Bernard Salt’s recent statement that the 2010s may forever be remembered as “the era in which we lost faith in the very institutions that underpin society”. From data breaches to financial misconduct and aged care neglect, highlighted in the two recent royal commissions, we have been shocked by revelations of breaches of privacy, standards and trust.
This edition of unisabusiness also highlights a range of challenges to the success of professional service firms. While the coming changes might be the result of technology, making the most of these opportunities will depend on human capacity and creativity. Finding the right staff and setting the right goals, can help ensure technology will enhance your business, rather than disrupt or replace it.
In Unlocking Service 4.0, we highlight the importance of an innovative workforce, identifying how diversity will ensure the best possible employees are on on-board for innovation. This is also emphasised in Gender Diversity, which shares some quick wins to create value for your firm.
And, in Board Games we provide new insights for company directors about good governance, and the skills that are needed to navigate 21st century boardrooms. With more demands and expectations upon board directors than ever, going beyond best-practice is the way of the future.
As a 5-star Business School ranked in the top 1 per cent worldwide, we ensure our students are prepared for successful, global professional careers while also supporting innovation and business growth in the sector.
We are also very proud role models for outstanding professional service – recently we become the very first university to win Australia’s Customer Service Organisation of the Year1, an accolade made even better when we took out the International Customer Service Award2 as well. That’s our fabulous UniSA Business School team at the national CSIA awards in the picture.
Certainly, professional services are changing and we’re all on a journey of discovery. We welcome you to join us.
Professor Marie Wilson is the Pro Vice Chancellor: Business and Law at the University of South Australia Business School.