Top skills for future employment

June 2020

 

Who would have thought ten years ago that computer games would be an important employment skill?

Online games teach the soft skills of problem solving, collaboration, resilience, and curiosity – all skills that are valuable in the new world, and are predicted to become even more important as technology plays an even bigger role in our work-life. Not surprisingly, some gamers even have advanced dexterity skills from gaming controllers which assist their proficiency in remote operations of vehicles and equipment. 

There are many misconceptions about the future of work and since there are no crystal balls to tell us what the future will look like, we need to evaluate trends and understand the potential opportunities technologies are unlocking to map out what the future may look like.

Robots won’t take your job, but they may fundamentally change what we do, and our skills will need to evolve during the course of our career. We know that to ensure our region’s future success, we’ll need to understand what skills will be in demand, what we need to do to prepare and how to best attract the skills we need.

An ING Future Focus report, released in April 2020, explores some of the impacts of digital technologies on the future workforce and unpacks the skills needed to thrive in this environment.

Its top predictions on the workforce of tomorrow are (this is a direct copy from the article and needs some context):

  • Robots join the team - digital connectedness will thrive from robots and drones utilised in healthcare to technology connecting remote teams over long distances.

  • STEMpathy will get you hired - while some machines will perform repetitive jobs, emotional intelligence is not something that can be programmed. It will be important for people to have multiple skill sets including creativity, problem solving with digital literacy.

  • Eco companies will lead the way - as we look to tomorrow, businesses that focus on sustainability, renewable energy and carbon neutrality will be the leaders of our new economy.

  • Your wellbeing is the priority - we will see workplaces place greater emphasis on mental health and wellbeing including access to online therapy, meditation apps and dedicated wellbeing spaces.

  • A home office will be commonplace - as more workplaces offer the opportunity to work from home, we will see a rise in those looking to build or buy properties with home offices.

  • Those who can adopt quickly will thrive -  while niche skills will still be needed, it will become increasingly important for people to diversify their skill sets and continue to learn outside traditional education pathways to ensure they are flexible and ready for change.

Many of these trends aren’t new concepts. More and more workplaces are prioritising emotional intelligence to improve their customer service, and most small businesses are resilient by nature and have learned to get on with the job by adopting new practices.

The rate of environmental and technological change, however, is occurring at an unprecedented pace, and it’s directly affecting jobs that require repetitive skills. On the upside, the Reserve Bank of Australia found in a recent study that employment for occupations requiring the highest level of skills for any given industry has increased as a share of employment from 15 per cent in the mid-1960s to about 30 per cent today.

What can we do today to prepare for future employment? Upskill, upskill, upskill. A growth mindset leads to continuous learning throughout our work life, and this is needed to succeed in the 4IR (click here to read more about the 4IR).

There are a range of free or discounted courses available online spanning a broad spectrum of topics from agriculture to IT.

TAFE Queensland

In response to the COVID 19 pandemic, TAFE Queensland are offering free micro-credentials across a range of skill sets including digital literacy, cybersecurity and data management.

Coursera

Coursera have a big selection of free online courses taught by Ivy League schools or offered by companies like Google and Amazon. They range from languages, career development and digital tech, to topical classes around understanding public health and global emergencies.

LinkedIn learning

Offering a range of courses run by expert trainers with the first month free, courses cover areas across software development, leadership and management, data science, business software and tools.

University courses

For a broader learning experience, universities across the country are offering six-month courses at half the price. The new online-only courses start at $1250 and range from Diploma to Graduate Certificate level, covering off a wide range of areas, including nursing, teaching, health, IT and science.

YouTube tutorials

Free and readily available tutorials. Tune in to learn a trade or new skills, from carpentry or repairs to baking and sewing.

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