Q: Can you suggest the future career paths which would ensure a job for my 14 year old grand daughter when she has completed her education? 


Nigel Dalton from REA Group says: There'll be jobs for all sorts of people in the future, so don't assume she needs to be a software programmer in 2030. Developing a comfort with technology (teens today have that with their mobile phones!) and a passion for something else is the best combination to think of. My 16 year old enjoys psychology and is not fazed by tech stuff, and will be a valuable team member helping engineers understand what people actually need built for them. The skill of reading is key (books, any kind), and a love of making things will be bankable in the 2020s.

Maggie Hill from Foundation for Young Australians says: It might be useful to encourage her to think broadly, rather than trying to find a job that won't be impacted by automation. I'd suggest encouraging her to think about how she is already developing her enterprise skillset, skills like digital literacy, critical thinking, presentation skills and communication, and how she can continue to do so! As we discussed in our report The New Work Mindset, it's also useful for young people to develop a portfolio of skills that can be applied in a range of jobs. This reflects the prediction that young people will have around 17 jobs and 5 careers in their working lives.

Jim Stanford from The Australia Institute says: The big irony is that if technology unfolds as quickly as many pundits expect, many of the jobs she could apply for don't even exist today. So there are limits to her ability to "pick" a good career on the basis of employability alone. In general more education enhances your chances of finding a job -- and not always because of specific skills that are learned, often because of the "screening" or "queuing" effects associatedf with higher education. She can learn effective communication, teamwork, and problem solving skills that will be as important as specific technical skills to her future success.

Fiona McKenzie from Australian Futures Project says: Good question. It is hard to predict 'roles' but we can make educated guesses about valuable skills. For example, the types of skills that are expected to be less likely to be 'automated' include a lot of ‘soft skills’ such as complex problem solving (including the ability to identify novel patterns); cognitive flexibility; creativity; and social and emotional capabilities (people management, negotiation, coordination, emotional intelligence). Check out McKinsey Global Institute's recent report for more info: https://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/digital-disruption/harnessing-automation-for-a-future-that-works. Another skill is entrepreneurship. More and more Australians are likely to be self-employed and/or running their own business in the future. In 2015, 15% of Australia’s employment was in the form of some type of flexible labour, with 10% of workers classed as self-employed and 5% in temporary employment - and this figure is rising.