The world is changing rapidly, and along with it, so is the workforce.
According to the Australian Department of Jobs and Small Businesses; health care, social assistance, professional, scientific and technical services, and information technology, will provide the largest growth in employment in Australia over the next 5 years.
Do we have the workforce ready for these jobs?
While staple jobs, such as childcare and construction remain relatively unchanged, the topography of a majority of the other trade based jobs are going through a drastic change. In industries such as medical, automotive, food sciences, avionics, business, telecommunications, and even agriculture, there is a growing demand for staff that are computer literate, and in many cases technologically adept.
As per the surveys carried out by the World Economic Forum, over 33% of the core skill sets in a majority of jobs, regardless of the industry, will be replaced with new skill set requirements, ones that fit in with the growth of technology. This is definitely true for Australia and is perfectly outlined in Australia’s Digital Pulse 2018 report, done by The Australian Computer Society and Delloite. This report states that by 2023, almost 3 million Australian workers will be employed in occupations that use information and communication technology regularly as part of their jobs. This is most clearly stated in opening lines of the report; “For Australia to succeed as an economy in the coming decades of the 21st century, it will need to successfully participate in the next waves of the digital revolution.”
Our Focus on Creating Skills for the 21st Century
• Education around how to Gain Practical Skills: A popular misconception by Australians is that the way to succeed in an ICT based career, university is the only option. To debunk this myth, all we need to do is to look at the following people; Bill Gates (Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple), Michael Dell (Dell), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Jack Dorsey (Twitter). Often, the right person, is not the one who can sit through a lecture day after day, but the person who can’t wait to get hands on experience, because that is how they learn and perform best.
• Create an Informed Industry: The tech shortage can also be attributed to the lack of awareness and information on alternate pathways into a career. We know that over the past few years, an increasing amount of attention has been placed on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Opportunities within this industry are booming, however even traditional trades can now harness the benefits of STEM. All IT reliant businesses have a cybersecurity need, automotive mechanics can now benefit from new-generation skills such as 3D printing and food technologists now need to actively learn about topics such as integrated pest management. Traditional trades are increasingly seeing the benefits of gaining new hybrid skillsets.
• Embracing Technology: One of the largest fears that people currently have about technology, is fear of being replaced by it. Whilst the fear of being replaced by technology is not unfounded, in a lot of cases, it actually evolutionises current jobs, or creates new jobs. During the most recent Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate on Artificial Intelligence, Swedish-American physicist and cosmologist Max Tegmark summed up this necessary change of mind state perfectly in the following quote, “We should think about how to use Technology to empower us, not overpower us”.
In contrast to all of the statistics and reports of the inevitable technology revolution, the Australian Computer Society reports that by 2022, 81,000 new ICT professionals will be required to fuel future technology-led growth.
The message of a skills shortage is heard loud and clear, so what can be done to ensure that organisations are gaining the practical skills for the present and the forward thinking skills of tomorrow?
Some steps are already underway to start nurturing and growing talent locally through new traineeship and apprenticeship pathways. Through partnering with forward thinking organisations and community groups, NextGen Jobs and our CEO Nick Wyman, understand the need for a new skillset for Australia’s up and coming workforce that compliments the existing one.
NextGen Jobs is committed to creating hands on employment and training options for young people. With the right forward thinking organizations working together, tailored mentoring & guidance, will help reduce a large portion of tech skill demands of Australia and better prepare us for the amazing technological future ahead.
About the Author
Having come from a mostly IT consultant and sales background, the transition into the world of traineeships and apprenticeships has been both enlightening and empowering. Being in various environments of the Tech industry, the shortage of skilled staff was evident, so when I was given the opportunity to assist and help develop pathways in creating a skilled that would help to develop our future innovators, I jumped at the opportunity.
Although I did well in school, my preference was always to do hands on things and by the age of 14, I was building my own computers. I seemed to learn better without a textbook or classroom. What seemed like a hobby, eventually led me to a successful career in the tech industry without any formal educational background. I simply have a passion to learn, but not the conventional way – and I am not the only one.