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The skills you need to land a job of the future

In an age where there’s an ever increasing chance a robot will one day take your job, today’s world of work is as unpredictable as it is different from anything that’s come before. The straightforward, linear job path has become a thing of the past, leaving many young people more educated – and out of a job – than ever.

But a new report from the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) suggests a bold new roadmap that young people, policy makers and educators can follow to shape a brighter future of work, together.

The new normal

Professor Dineli Mather, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate Employment) at Deakin University, explains that digital disruption has played a large part in reshaping our world, ‘Because increasingly, robots can do our jobs,’ she says. With this has come the need for a new kind of graduate who’s able to make the world their own. ‘Communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity are the key skills employers value. They’re not interested in graduates/employees who can’t problem solve!’ Prof. Mather explains.

'Communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity are the key skills employers value.'

Professor Dineli Mather,
Deakin University

A broader scope

This premise is aligned with recent findings from the report produced by FYA. Through big data analysis of more than 2.7 million job advertisements, FYA has identified digital skills, critical thinking and creativity as key to navigating the modern world. But how?

FYA’s key finding is that skillsets are not isolated. Rather, they can be used across a number of jobs that FYA has grouped into seven ‘clusters’:

  • the Generators cluster, comprising jobs that require good customer service and organisational skills, and involve a high level of interpersonal interaction
  • the Artisans cluster, comprising jobs that require good organisational skills and involve hands-on, manual tasks
  • the Designers cluster, comprising jobs that require good problem-solving skills and involve using science and maths skills to design, construct or engineer buildings or products
  • the Coordinators cluster, comprising jobs that require good organisational and customer service skills and involve process-oriented, administrative, behind the scenes tasks
  • the Informers cluster, comprising jobs that require good interaction and problem-solving skills, and involve imparting information or education
  • the Technologists cluster, comprising jobs that require good interaction and detail-oriented skills, and involve manipulating digital technology
  • the Carers cluster, comprising jobs that require good interaction, problem solving and organisational skills, and involve improving the mental or physical health of others.

So if you’re someone who has strong interpersonal skills, you’re probably most suited to jobs in the ‘Generators’ cluster and can work as anything from a bank manager to an entertainer. But if you’re strong on maths and design skills, you’re able to shift between any number of careers in the ‘Designers’ cluster, which includes areas like geology and architecture. As young people navigate these changes, FYA estimates that future employees will have up to 17 different jobs over five different career areas – a far more diverse and unique path than ever before.

Take this quiz to find out which future job cluster you might be suited to.

Collaboration creates infinite possibilities

Effective management of this shift requires a collaborative effort amongst educators and policy-makers alike, says Jan Owen, CEO at FYA. ‘We need to design our education to develop these skills in real world scenarios. For example, ‘A school in Norway runs a project where students build environmentally sustainable houses on a 1:20 scale. The school cooperates with representatives in local businesses to support students in the roles required for the project, for example architects, builders and real estate agents. And students use the same digital tools that the professionals are using,’ she explains.

Prof. Mather says that there is an exciting opportunity here for young people because diverse and original thinking is being rewarded more than ever. ‘If you look at new business models like Airbnb or Uber, they have been created by someone who was able to look outside the box to develop an innovative solution to a new problem. It’s not about students being able to solve a particular kind of problem but being able to solve any problem,’ concludes Prof. Mather.

Want to find out more about some careers of the future and the university courses that can get you there? Explore courses and careers now.

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Professor Dineli Mather
Professor Dineli Mather

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate Employment), Deakin University
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