Magazine article

As technology reduces the need for workers to complete routine manual tasks, they’ll spend more time focusing on people, solving strategic problems and thinking creatively. But are we ready?

The Foundation for Young Australians’ Thriving in the New Work Order 2017 report analysed the more than 20 billion hours of work Australia’s 12 million workers do each year to understand the skills required by future work roles and how that will change by 2030. “What we do in every single job, in every occupation, will change,” says FYA chief executive Jan Owen.

Key change points are:

Learning: Australian workers will spend one-third of their hours at work learning, a 30 per cent increase. Continuous learning will be part of our everyday engagement at work, requiring us to react quickly to new information and technology.

Thinking: Young people will need to be better problem-solvers and communicators. Problemsolving skills will be used for 12 hours a week (up 90 per cent) and critical thinking for 15 hours (up 40 per cent). Verbal communication and interpersonal skills will be needed for seven hours a week (up 17 per cent).

They will also need to better use scientific, mathematical and technological knowledge.

Foundational skills of mathematics and science will be used for nine hours a week (up 80 per cent) and advanced technology skills for seven hours (up 75 per cent).

Doing: We'll also need to rely less on being managed or told what to do. On average, people will work without a manager for three hours more each week, receive one hour less instruction and rely on organisational coordination with colleagues and superiors for two fewer hours.

Our young people aren’t properly prepared for these changes. Nearly one in three is currently unemployed or underemployed.

On average, it takes 4.7 years to transition from full-time education to full-time work.

By 2030, students currently in primary school will be close to finishing their school education and high school leavers will be entering the workforce.