When it comes to the future of work, what people really want to know is: ‘Will a robot take my job?’ For Gen Y, not only is this a concern for themselves but also for their Generation Alpha children (born 2010-2024). While work seems like it is a long way off in the future for Generation Alpha, it will be here before we know it – especially for the oldest Generation Alphas, who will commence their first experience of work, even while students, over the next decade.
In our book on Generation Alpha, we use the trends of today to analyse and predict what is likely to occur in the future and affect Generation Alpha. We explore what the post-school pathway landscape is like, including the university versus vocational education and training (VET) debate, and the role parents play in this decision for their child. We take a look at how post-school pathways prepare Generation Alpha for the changing nature of work in the future and explore what sort of jobs Generation Alpha will have, as well as how and where they will work.
Preparing the next generation for the future of work
Digital disruption and artificial intelligence is changing what jobs people will do in the future. The World Economic Forum predicts that 65% of Generation Alpha children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t even exist yet!
The future of work will be an increasingly hybrid way of working (a mix of work in the workplace and work-from-home) and will include jobs suited to technologically savvy people such as quantum computing, biometric programming and AI technicians. Although many futuristic jobs will need technical and digital skills, it is also important to remember that human beings possess certain skills such as empathy, creativity and context-dependant critical thinking skills that are difficult to translate into a language a computer can understand. Additionally, these skills are transferrable across different jobs, which is a key aspect of futureproofing one’s career. They are also skills well suited to more traditional roles like nursing or aged care (as they require uniquely human skills), which will continue to be in demand due to demographic realities like a growing and ageing population.
Our research into the future of education suggests parents believe schools should focus on ‘developing transferable skills’ and ‘future proofing students by equipping them with workforce skills’ even above ‘educating students to achieve high academic results’.
To future proof Generation Alpha, we need to help them to develop people skills, as well as technical skills. Preparing for a global world and workforce should be a key priority for parents, teachers and leaders, as work continues to shift and change. Investing in transferrable skills such as digital skills, creativity, leadership qualities and critical thinking is important because these can be used across different industries and sectors. In order to remain relevant in a changing context, workers need to make a habit of continually refreshing existing skills and adding new ones.
This is also important because Generation Alpha will work across more jobs and careers. In fact, we believe that they will have at least 18 jobs across 6 careers in their lifetime. To stand out, Generation Alpha workers of the future will need to demonstrate character qualities, real-work experience and other ways of showing why they are the right fit for a role, beyond just academics. Generation Alpha will be retraining, upskilling, career changing, or shifting from employment to self-employment and then back again, several times over the course of their working lives, and so ongoing access to formal training will ensure they meet the demands of an everchanging workforce.
You can purchase your copy of Generation Alpha by Mark McCrindle and Ashley Fell, by visiting the website below.
And if you’re interested in ‘future proofing’ your students as they prepare for their transition from school, Work-Ready is on the same page.
We have some fantastic information, activities and workshops to help them to understand and develop the skills that will be necessary for an exciting work future.
Check out these modules in Work-Ready:
If you haven’t already subscribed to Work-Ready you can register here for free.