Key Trends And Opportunities In The Future Of Work
A recent business conference in Sydney in mid-March highlighted five (5) megatrends which will impact the Future of Work.
At this conference the Chief Executive Officer of BHP, Mike Henry pointed out that “The world around us is changing at a pace that I don’t think most of us could have seen as possible only a few short years ago. Geopolitically, economically, socially.”
He added “The tide is changing for many of the fundamental trends that Australia’s prosperity has been built on.”
Mike Henry and a series of other Australian and international speakers went on to identify five (5) megatrends that will impact the global and Australian economies over the coming decades. As most of these trends are already underway, they have started a global race for capital, people and capabilities with significant ramifications for the associated career opportunities.
The five (5) megatrends identified at this conference were:
- Probably the most prominent megatrend discussed was DECARBONISATION and the pursuit of clean energies worldwide.
- Megatrends two (2) and three (3) are closely linked:
GEOPOLITICAL TENSIONS giving rise to a growing focus on NATIONAL SECURITY and DEFENCE; and a move to deglobalisation with countries seeking to produce more products at home (eg steel, semiconductors, fuel etc).
- The fourth (4th) megatrend of DIGITALISATION encompasses such things as computing power, automation, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and related technologies and skills.
- These four (4) megatrends are leading to a fifth (5th) trend, which is “INFLATION”. The investments that governments will have to make to deliver the four (4) earlier megatrends are seen as likely to keep inflation above government targets of 2-3% and interest rates relatively high for some time yet.
We at CareerHQ believe that a sixth (6th) megatrend will also exist. That will be FOOD SECURITY involving the production of sufficient food to feed the world’s growing population and the increased application of technology to agricultural production to increase productivity and yield.
These megatrends are not tomorrow’s job opportunities. They already offer students, early career seekers and career changers study and job opportunities as the skills to resource these six (6) key megatrends are in short supply globally….and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.
A key implication of these trends is that the future workforce needs new approaches to skills and training.
Historically when we have talked about preparing people for the workforce, it has often been presented as being a choice between vocational education (TAFE etc), going to university or on-the-job training.
This will need to change, and likely will. The speed of technological advances means that future workers will probably need to do all three; and probably several times over their career. They will need to regularly move in and out of education throughout their careers to update their knowledge and skills.
This will require making it easier for students and workers to move between vocational training; university and on-the-job learning; and for integrated learning centres to emerge.
The good news is that this is starting to happen. An example is that earlier this year, the Institute for Applied Technology (Digital) opened at Meadowbank in Sydney. It brings together the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Macquarie University, TAFE NSW and Microsoft to give a rigorous yet practical and industry-related education in digital technologies such as software development, big data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
We anticipate and hope that more of these types of organisations are established to offer integrated education offerings in Australia. Employers are screaming out for employees with the applied learning and skills that their graduates will offer.
There is no need for people to worry about the Future of Work if they know where the opportunities will exist and constantly update their skills to capitalise on them.