Where the jobs will be in 2030: new report
Written by Anna Patty, appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, 11 November 2016
Rachel Lilley is teaching children how to prepare for an uncertain jobs future.
The curriculum she teaches at Regents Park Christian School in Sydney is one she developed to teach students website development skills, computer coding and research skills. But the course doesn’t stop there. The children are also being taught problem solving and communication skills, which new research suggests will be vital for their economic survival in the future.
A national report to be released on Friday has found that today’s preschoolers will need a mix of computer technology and “soft” communication and creative skills to find their place in the jobs market.
“It’s the mix of skills that matter – a good balance across hard and soft skills will give younger generations the greatest advantage as they enter the workforce,” the report says.
The report by the Regional Australia Institute and NBN has found that one in two Australians will need skills in programming, software development and building digital technology to remain competitive in 2030.
In the next five years, 90 per cent of the existing workforce will need a basic level of digital literacy to communicate, find information and purchase goods and services to satisfy prospective employers.
Automation is expected to replace a high proportion of jobs and low-skill entry-level jobs have also become more scarce.
The Future of Work – Setting Kids Up for Success report has reviewed Australian job trends and says today’s pre-schoolers need to have a mix of so-called hard IT and soft communication skills to be prepared for the 2030 job market.
“Nerds and geeks have had a good run in the last decade, masking the enormous growth of ‘people to people’ jobs. Both attributes will be highly valued in the future labour market,” the report says.
“As well as digital skills, more tangible attributes – entrepreneurialism, creativity and interpersonal skills – are becoming increasingly important to businesses and organisations.
“Many are calling for the integration of enterprise and entrepreneurialism skills into schools and universities. This could expand the investment in science and technology engineering and maths (STEM) to encompass entrepreneurship, art and design – expanding STEM to STEAMED. This reveals the growing value of soft skills in additional to technical proficiency.”
This report also highlights the need for regional areas to be prepared for the future job market by providing good education in hard and soft skills, strong infrastructure connection, fostering entrepreneurial and innovation production as well as being good places to work and live.
It says skills including critical thinking, communication, collaboration, connectivity, creativity and culture are estimated to underpin £88 billion of the British economy, equivalent to $142.6 billion.
“Yet while these skills are widely identified as critical components of 21st century skill frameworks, they are not a core focus in today’s classroom.”
Regent Park Christian School is an exception to that rule. Ms Lilley has developed what she called the C21 “Century 21” curriculum to improve children’s information and computer technology skills.
“This new form of teaching is giving students the ability to independently research content at their fingertips and is setting them up with skills they will need in the workforce,” she said.
“It is a course that changes every year and we mould it to the needs of students and areas we want to develop. We integrate technology skills with collaboration and problem-solving tasks to help the students think critically.
“The students are being trained in these skills, which they are transferring to other areas of learning.”
Jack Archer, chief executive for the Regional Australia Institute, said there was a “lot of noise about the future of work and what it will mean”.
He said new paths need to be created to help children get the right balance of digital and personal communication skills.
“We’ve delivered an online toolkit to make sense of the future of work, what it means for kids and their parents and to provide them with the tools they need now to build capability in the future.”