Well, this is awkward.
New research by The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) has found that 60% of Aussie students are currently studying or training for jobs that either won’t exist, or will look completely different, in the next 10 to 15 years.
The report, called New Work Order: Ensuring Young Australians Have Skills And Experience For The Jobs Of The Future, Not The Past, states those studying vocational education and training (VET) will be the hardest hit by significant developments that are set to change the way we work in the coming decades, making up 71% percent of that number.
Automation i.e. robots are the biggest threat to our job security, with at least two thirds of jobs expected to be taken over by ‘smart machines’ in the near future.
Apart from that, you’ve got globalisation – where technology platforms are making it possible for workers around the world to do jobs from remote locations – and collaboration, through which we’ll see an increasing number of people engaged in work with a range of employers to generate $$$.
Some of these changes will present new opportunities, like more flexibility in ways to source income, but FYA CEO Jan Owen AM says there’s an urgent need for educational overhaul if we have a hope in hell of avoiding unemployment and job insecurity.
“Australia is already facing the challenge of an ageing population and the subsequent shrinking workforce and if our nation is going to overcome these challenges, young people must be given the opportunity to drive the economy forward.
“The future of work is going to be very different. Many of the changes could be great for our nation, but they could also be devastating – for young people in particular – if we don’t take the right actions to prepare for this vastly different world.
“This report shows that right now, around 70% of young Australians are getting their first job in roles that will either look very different or be completely lost in the next 10 – 15 years due to automation. Today’s 12-year-old won’t have the same opportunities to get a start in the workforce.”
According to PriceWaterhouseCooper, who recently put out a similar report, the below sectors are the most at risk of computerisation in the next 20 odd years.
Owen is calling for a comprehensive national investment to prepare young Aussies for future employment, primarily by boosting digital literacy.
“Technology and globalisation are making it easier and cheaper for people to start their own business; and new technologies and ways of working are making how and where people work more flexible. If we are to make this work in our favour, we need to position our young people for success.
“Our report found more than 90% of Australia’s current workforce will need digital skills to communicate and find information in order to perform their roles in the next 2-5 years. At least 50% will need advanced skills to configure and build systems.
“To manage this demand and ensure Australia’s young people can thrive in this environment, the next generation need to not only know how to operate technology, but how to create and manipulate it as well. Our children may be able to operate a smart-phone with ease, but what they need is to learn how to build it.
“Unfortunately, our national curriculum is stuck in the past – with the current recommendation that teaching in digital skills not commence until Year 9. This is despite the international evidence that says we must go early.”
One of the key recommendations Owen and the FYA make to cut the problem off at the pass is a national enterprise learning strategy – which involves a focus on core skills like financial and literacy, project management and creativity – to provide young ppl with the skills, knowledge and ideas required for the future.
Key takeaway: CLING TO TECHNOLOGY AND LEARN HOW TO DO ALL THE SHIT WITH IT.
Or, ya know, take up professional soccer because fuck knows robots won’t trump us at that any time soon.
Table image via PWC.