GovHack and the future of work

GovHack and the future of work

The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business is a long term sponsor of GovHack and the Economics Branch, represented by Hao Min until recently, has been the department’s coordinator in recent years. Hao Min is currently a research analyst in the Future of Work branch.

The department’s role is to support economic growth, by delivering policies and programs that assist job seekers to find work, encourage small and family businesses to grow, and maximise opportunity through access to quality skills and training.

Hao Min

Working in the Future of Work branch, Hao has seen how the nature of work is changing in Australia. The branch recently contributed a chapter to a report by the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare, highlighting changes in workplaces due to new technology, globalisation, and other factors. In the future, while some jobs will be lost, new jobs will also be created, and the key challenge for workers will be to be flexible and to acquire new skills.

In the past, workers might have looked forward to a job for life. Today, it’s really a life long learning journey. People need to figure out what their current skills are and be open to new opportunities for training and development. Short courses and development of ‘soft skills’, such as communication and teamwork skills, can help us to adapt to the ways jobs change.

The department recently launched the Skills Match feature, on the Job Outlook website, which helps individuals to identify what skills that they may have and which of these skills are transferrable so they can follow pathways to new jobs.

Why sponsor GovHack?

“I personally strongly believe in open data and the innovation it can bring to policy questions and benefits for the public. GovHack is a great way to promote this,”

“Some GovHack participants may not think that what they’ve done is transferrable to the workplace but, in fact, a lot of things they do are transferrable skills. Apart from the obvious, such as data analysis and coding skills, the ability to work in a team, cooperate with team members towards a common goal especially under pressure, are valuable.”

Hao Min.

Strategic planning and project management is also useful.

Selvaraaju Murugesan, Yepeng Wang, Chris Dury, Hao Min, Alfred Beshara, Julian Singh.

“During the event, it really pays to be strategic about how to approach a project as there are so many potential datasets and challenges to choose from. It is also useful to draw on the strength of each group member.

“Working in a team requires interpersonal skills, getting along with people, particularly in a small team under pressure, and this is a valuable skill in the workplace.”


The department sponsored two challenges in the 2019 GovHack competition.

Earlier in the year, the department asked staff to nominate datasets and associated challenge questions to publish for GovHack.

The Labour Market Research and Analysis branch prepared a data dictionary for data sets contained on the Labour Market Information Portal, to help GovHack participants to understand and use the data.

The department also published New Business Assistance with NEIS data. The data provides information on the program, which assists people not in employment, education or training to start up a business.

Through GovHack, the department hopes to gain insights and perspectives that can potentially inform future policy.

Working with GovHack

“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Jan and other GovHack organisers who have been fantastic and work tirelessly to ensure success.”

Chris Dury, Hao Min

Over the past four years, Hao Min says that he’s had the pleasure to meet many sponsors, mentors, participants and volunteers and has had “a really great experience”.

To someone considering entering GovHack, Hao Min, simply says “enjoy the ride!”

Article by Peter Marks for GovHack