All the great technology that makes our lives easier and more interconnected is predicted to keep developing to the point where it’ll put a lot of people out of work.
Just as young Australians begin to realise the battle they have on their hands with increasingly unaffordable housing, a slowing economy and limp political climate, a new threat to their financial future is coming from tech.
“Issues are ahead for young people as the most significant disruption in the world of work since the industrial revolution begins to have an impact in the next decade,” warns a new research report by the Foundation for Young Australians.
“Economic changes are transforming work through automation, globalisation and more flexible work. This could bring opportunity. But it could also further disadvantage young people in labour markets.”
The FYA report, The new work order, predicts that more than half of Australian students are learning soon-to-be-redundant skills.
“Nearly 60 per cent of Australian students are currently studying or training for occupations where at least two thirds of jobs will be automated.”
The findings for those now entering the workforce are just as concerning, with around 70 per cent of young Australians getting their first job in roles that will either look very different or be completely lost in the next 10 to 15 years due to automation.
“Ever-smarter machines are performing ever-more human tasks – taking, replacing or eliminating the need for whole categories of employment.”
However rather than changing the way the workforce of the future is educated and upskilled to meet these challenges, the Australian education system is sticking to outdated programs.
“Over 50% of jobs will require significant digital skills and yet our young people are not learning them in schools,” the report laments.
The FYA has identified three major forces shaping the future of work; automation: ever-smarter machines performing ever-more human tasks; globalisation: our workforce going global and the global workforce coming to us; and collaboration: many jobs, with many employers, often at the same time.
To combat these massive shifts in the workplaces of the future, the FYA is calling for education and training programs that equip people with the enterprising skills to drive economic and social development.
“Enterprising skills are transferrable across different jobs and are a more powerful predictor of long-term job success and performance than technical knowledge. They include: communication; project management; financial literacy; digital literacy; and the ability to critically assess and analyse information, be creative and innovate.”
While a significant burden for this reform falls on the government and industry in ensuring the appropriate education and training is accommodated for, there is also an onus on the individual to start preparing for the future too.