What this report ultimately reveals is that current careers advice is already outdated. When we talk about the future of work, much of the focus is on which jobs will disappear and which will remain. These are important factors, however this report shows that we need to shift our focus from jobs to skills to prepare young people for the future of work. By understanding the skills and capabilities that will be most portable and in demand in the new economy, young people can work to equip themselves for the future of work more effectively. Our mindset needs to shift to reflect a more dynamic future of work where linear careers will be far less common and young people will need a portfolio of skills and capabilities to navigate the more complex world of work.
We already know that there is a gap between the skillset young people need and their level of attainment. This report indicates that around 35% of Australian 15-year-olds showed low proficiency in problem solving, 27% demonstrated low proficiency in digital literacy and 29% demonstrated low proficiency in financial literacy. More and more employers are demanding enterprising skills among young employees. Demand for digital skills went up 212% over three years, while critical thinking increased 158%, creativity increased by 65% and presentation and communication skills by 25%.
This report again shows the urgent need for investment in employability skills and careers education that must:
- Begin early in primary school and build consistently, year on year, throughout secondary education;
- Be provided in ways that young people want to learn: through experience, immersion and with peers;
- Provide accurate information about and exposure to where future jobs will exist and the skills to craft and navigate multiple careers
- Engage students, schools, industry and parents in co- designing opportunities in and outside the classroom.