When I Grow Up / Child Magazine

Child March 16

What does the workplace future hold for today’s preschoolers?

Our kids will have 14 jobs in six careers, and 60 percent of the tasks they’ll do in 2020 have not been invented yet, according to Melbourne-based futurist Morris Miselowski (businessfuturist.com).

Where will those jobs be, and what will they be like?


When Morris told parents years ago their children would be gaming for a job, they were horrified.

Gamification is going to be where a lot of the jobs are, with $80,000 starting salaries. Virtual realities can be used to trial new habits, teach people to do things or for online learning, and doctors and psychologists already use gamification to learn about how the mind works. “It’s not just about designing games,” says Morris.


Will our kids be worse or better off? It won’t necessarily be either, just different, says Morris. Rather than the nine to five, our kids will have a portfolio of tasks. Their central income will be less certain, and likely supplemented by casualised activities such as selling on Etsy or renting out a room on AirBnB. “They’ll work until they’re 90, live until they’re 120 or beyond,” says Morris.

The ‘gig economy’ will grow through online talent platforms like upwork.com and freelancer.com, which already connect workers with hirers around the world.

The downside is these sites are pushing pay-rates down, as freelancers outbid one another in a race to the bottom.

While incomes might fall, our kids will focus on experiences rather than ownership. “They’ll drive the car for a weekend rather than own the car,” says Morris. On-demand 3D printing is about to transform our ability to produce our own stuff at next to no cost and will open up as yet undreamt of jobs. “You’ll buy a template for a pair of Size 9 shoes and tailor their look to suit you. I believe tomorrow’s billionaire sits inside that industry.”

The simple jobs, such as driving taxis, will be performed by robots, says forecaster BIS Shrapnel’s Chief Economist, Frank Gelber. Employment in those areas will fall, but the offset is that our income will buy more and there’ll be fewer jobs required to produce a product or service. The ageing population means a lower proportion of people in the workforce, so there’ll be plenty of jobs for those who want them – and most will still require human input.

Frank advises kids to train for what they’d like to do, but with much more of an eye to the end product and the use of technology. An example is architectural technology replacing the need for draughtsmen. “We still need the architects, but the way they do their job has changed.”

Code IT

To prepare for a digital world, girls at Sydney’s Roseville College are learning to ‘code with purpose’.

This skill is much more than learning to write in ‘computer language’, says the school’s Teaching and Learning Innovation Executive, Abi Woldhuis. Rather, it develops skills the future demands, such as advanced problem solving and the ability to identify and break problems into manageable chunks. “It also requires communication and collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.”

At last year’s NSW SAP Young ICT Explorers competition, Roseville Year 5 and 6 students took first, second and third place for real-world coding solutions: a sensor to spot food on a sushi train past its use-by date; a device to locate a lost cochlear implant; and a remote monitor to check on a non-tech savvy loved one’s welfare.

“Future employees will need to know more than how to use a computer,” says Abi. “They will need to understand how computers work, what makes software and apps operate, how to troubleshoot and how technology integrates with business operations. This will no longer be the sole domain of dedicated programmers.”

Our kids will have a lifelong education, and not necessarily a formal one, says Morris. ‘Nano-degrees’ will break down learning into relevant and bite-sized certifications for workers.

The future is not all high-tech, though. Handmade items will go head to head with mass-produced brands on sites like notonthehighstreet.com “Our kids will nhave the opportunity to be an artisan, to truly be a craftsperson,” Morris said.

Passports at the Ready

Our kids will encounter not just techno-change, but geo-change. It’ll be far more common to move overseas for assignments, says Peter Noblet, Senior Regional Director of Hays recruitment agency. Multinational organisations will move their talent between international offices to their most dynamic and skillsdeprived markets.

That means today’s preschoolers will need language skills, a sensitivity to what works in different geographies, flexibility to lean into the changes of a digital world, and adaptability so they can quickly settle into a new environment, says Peter.

To the Future – and Beyond!

Don’t fret, Morris Miselowski tells parents. Opportunity looms.

Instead of smothering our kids with love and telling them how they should act, we need to allow them space to evolve. “To us, it seems like science fiction, but to our kids, it’s normal. We parents crave linear, but the future will be messy. Our kids will be creating jobs, not getting jobs. Anything is possible.”

reprinted from CHILD Magazine, written by Natalie Ritchie

Eye on the Future - Mar 10, 2016 | All, education, Horizon Trends, human resources, Social, Work
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