The study has identified six megatrends for jobs and employment markets over the coming twenty years.
- The second half of the chessboard
The explosion in device connectivity, data volumes and computing speed, combined with rapid advances in automated systems and artificial intelligence means that robotic devices can perform many tasks more quickly, safely and efficiently than humans.
2. Porous boundaries
Digital technology and the new world of ‘platform economics’ is changing employment markets and organisational structures. Jobs of the future are likely to be more flexible, agile, networked and connected.
3. The era of the entrepreneur
The ideal job within a large organisation may not be awaiting an increasing number of future job seekers. This means individuals will need to create their own job. This will require entrepreneurial skills and aptitudes.
4. Divergent demographics
Along with many other advanced and emerging economies, Australia’s population is ageing with growing life expectancies. Retirement ages are likely to push back further and an organisation’s employee profile is likely to contain more diverse age groups and more diverse cultural backgrounds.
5. The rising bar
Increased use of automated systems is raising the complexity of tasks and requiring higher skill levels for entry-level positions. Many low skilled jobs are being offshored or automated. The consequence is the likelihood of a raised skills and education bar for entry into many professions and occupations.
6. Tangible intangibles
Employment growth in the service industries, in particular education and healthcare, has driven job creation in recent times. This is likely to continue into the future as we move to a knowledge economy. Service sector jobs requiring social interaction skills and emotional intelligence will become increasingly important.
The megatrends and scenarios hold implications for the ways in which individuals manage their careers (and those of their children), the ways through which companies manage their workforce and the ways the government regulates and manages the labour market. There are also implications for the education sector.
New skills and mindsets are needed for the future
1. Education and training are becoming ever more important.
There will be fewer and fewer jobs within the service sector of the economy – within which the bulk of Australians are employed – which do not require skills, and/or training qualifications. The bar is likely to continue rising for the foreseeable future.
2. New capabilities are needed for new jobs of the future.
Lifelong education and training for all Australians needs to prepare both young and old for new and different jobs and employment models. Automation, robotics and artificial intelligence are heightening the importance of skills in creativity, problem solving, advanced reasoning, complex judgement, social interaction and emotional intelligence.
3. Digital literacy is needed alongside numeracy and literacy.
To enter the labour market of the future Australians will need to be literate, numerate and digitally literate. These capabilities will be threshold requirements for most jobs. While numeracy and literacy have long been on the radar for education providers, digital literacy is a relative newcomer.
4. The changing importance of STEM (whilst participation rates decline).
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills are likely to be needed in many of the better-paid jobs of the future. As technology becomes more advanced and more complex, STEM capabilities may be an entry level requirement. However, recent research has revealed a gradual and long term decline in senior secondary school (year 12) participation rates in biology, chemistry, physics, intermediate mathematics and advanced mathematics in Australia.
Attitudes and perceptions are to be changed
5. Aptitudes and mindsets to handle a dynamic labour market.
In tomorrow’s job market adaptability, resilience, buoyancy and entrepreneurial capabilities are of growing importance.
6. Challenging perceptions and norms about job types.
In Australia nine out of every 10 nurses are female and more than nine in 10 electricians are male. There are other professions with gender, age and cultural imbalances. These imbalances sometimes result from perceptions by employees and employers about the ‘right’ person for the job. Fluidity across boundaries and challenging perceptions will be increasingly important for full employment of Australia’s workforce in the more dynamic and rapidly changing employment market of the future.