Fact: many of the jobs that students entering primary school today will be doing in 2030 don’t exist yet. The accelerating impact of technology and automation is both eliminating and creating new types of work. Depending on which study you read, the estimates of 2030 jobs that haven’t been invented yet range from 20% all the way up to 85%. And on current trends, our children of today will likely have multiple careers and continue up-skilling and re-skilling throughout their lives.
Already we’re seeing evidence of shifting work patterns. The 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey shows that 43% of millennials expect to leave their jobs within two years.
So what does all of this mean for today’s educators? Perhaps the most important realisation is that we need to have a much greater emphasis on transferable skill development that enables resilience, flexibility and interconnection. Four key future-oriented skill areas are:
- Self-efficacy – belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task through hard work, creativity and adaptation;
- Interpersonal skills – the ability to influence, negotiate, forgive, co-create, and empathise;
- Ethical decision making – being able to consistently behave in line with one’s core values, even when it’s inconvenient or hard;
- Critical thinking – actively conceptualising, applying, analysing, synthesising, and/or evaluating information.
This is not a complete list, but all of these will be absolutely critical factors contributing to the future success of our students.
These are skills that need lots of development, scaffolding and practice. But that’s okay – because quality teachers have recognised this and are already deeply embedding these skills into most, if not all, lessons.