What’s hot tomorrow?
Climate change reversal specialist, pharmer of genetically engineered crops, alternative vehicle developers and social media strategists: look back 10 years and you’ll see that several jobs in demand today didn’t exist back then.
Tomorrow’s workforce may look very different from today, but a clue to the jobs that will be in demand are the areas in which society is changing, or will need to change.
Green jobs are an obvious growth area, with roles ranging from environmental educators to asset managers, and green building experts to sustainability planners, managers and advocates. New and innovative processes will need to be put in place for managing waste, water and emissions. A range of other professions will make themselves more employable by having a connection to this sector. According to the Australian Conservation Foundation, there will be a demand for purchasing officers who implement a sustainable purchasing policy, office managers who help reduce energy waste, mining workers who help save fuel or rehabilitate land, and chefs who choose locally grown, environmentally-friendly produce. Given the amount of attention governments are now giving sustainability, the green jobs area is likely to grow exponentially. Businesses that deal with carbon capture, carbon trading or emissions trading will also see a jobs boom over the next decade.
Education and training remains Australia’s fourth-largest export. Overall, people will need continuous skills updating over the course of their careers – and it will be common to change occupations. What’s more, just as it’s easier to get knowledge and information through a new medium, it will be easier for people to share their knowledge and skills, and geography will be less of a limitation.
The food sector is going through great change. There are jobs in new areas such as ethical farming and treatment of animals, the development of ways to protect crops and animals from disease and pests, and even farm management for overseas companies or governments that reserve Australian farmland for their nation’s food security.
There are great future prospects in every facet of security – from national intelligence agencies to biosecurity, and anything to do with information security. For example, more people will be needed to install and maintain security systems, while at the other end there will be more work for forensic computer specialists, who can detect hidden patterns in data and track and find hidden information.
Finally, there is social media and the new service deliveries that will become possible through the National Broadband Network (NBN). While social media is no longer new, businesses are still developing methods to maximise its use to compete, engage with customers and collect and process data.
The Future Work Skills 2020 report from the Institute for the Future has identified 10 critical skills you will need to be competitive in the workforce:
Sense making – a smart machine will be able to do the grunt work, but it won’t be able to think and make an accurate decision – that’s where humans come in.
Social intelligence – robots and computers aren’t really the emotional types, so we’ll still rely on human ability to connect with others in a deep and direct way, and build trusting relationships.
Novel & adaptive thinking – a proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond the usual standards. High-skill jobs tend to require flexibility and on-the-feet thinking.
Cross-cultural competency – the ability to operate in different cultural settings. As companies go global, work teams will involve people from many different backgrounds.
Computational thinking – as we rely more on data to make decisions, computational thinking skills to use this information effectively will be needed.
New media literacy – workers will need to be able to assess and develop content that uses new media, and possess sophisticated skills to present their own work through new media.
Transdisciplinarity – being skilled in one field of expertise will still be appreciated, but employees will need to work with people in other disciplines, and be willing to diversify their skill set.
Design mindset – the ability to develop tasks and work processes for a range of different goals, recognising which tasks require different kinds of thinking.
Cognitive load management – filtering through the clutter to find and prioritise the important information will be important.
Virtual collaboration – the ability to work productively and make others feel engaged and part of a team, even if they aren’t physically sitting next to somebody will be needed.
Kick Start Your Career by the University of Melbourne with Cosmos Media will be available from the Admissions Office on Swanston Street on Open Day, teachers can order bulk copies for their students, or individual copies can be ordered by email to: