The skills required by workers in the future will be very different to those of today, a report has predicted, as well as warning education systems need to change to prepare school children for their future.

Future workplaces:

  • 41 per cent more time will be spent on critical thinking and judgment
  • 77 per cent more time will be spent using science and mathematics skills
  • Utilise verbal communication and interpersonal skills for 7 hours a week — to go up 17pc
  • Management will go down 26 per cent
  • Organisational coordination will go down 16 per cent

The New Work Smarts report from the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) has predicted every job will be changed by automation over the next two decades.

Workers in 2030 will perform fewer routine and manual tasks, and instead focus on human interaction, strategic and creative thinking.

They will also spend more time learning on the job, solving problems and using science and mathematics skills.

Jan Owen, chief executive of FYA, said they expected people would spend 30 per cent more time than they do now learning on the job.

“We expect people to be spending double the amount of time on critical thinking, problem solving, using maths, science and technology and written and verbal skills,” she said.

With fewer managers predicted, workers will have to supervise and manage themselves, adopting an entrepreneurial mindset in order to get ahead.

The report warned about the “potential shortcomings of our education system — a system which continues to formally assess based on an old understanding of ‘smart’.”

Ms Owen said the whole learning system from preschool through to higher education, and beyond, would need a redesign.

“Not only are we going to be working differently, we do need to be smart in a different way,” she said.

“To date we measure smart at school on how you ace the test.

“This report says smart is much more about your cognitive and emotional skills — I call it the human intelligence.”

Ms Owen said for that there needed to be a greater focus on STEM subjects in schools — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The report also predicted the end of the concept that you study or train for one particular occupation, and then work in that field for the rest of your life.

They estimated future Australian workers would on average make at least 17 changes in employers, across five different careers over their lifetime.

‘We need to change the style of learning’

“Seventy per cent of our girls from kindergarten to Year 6 say that if robotics was available as part of their curriculum, that they would want to choose it.”

At one primary school in Sydney there was no dampening the enthusiasm of about a dozen young robotics technicians.

The children fill the after-school-hours class, and are keen to show off what they can do with their robot on wheels.

Nine-year-old Evan Jones said he could see a future where he would be working directly in robotics.

But the problem-solving and coding skills he has been learning in the workshop could put him in good stead for all kinds of future jobs.

“It can help, if you want to be a programmer and make games, this will help,” he said.

By David Coady – ABC

Posted 27 Jul 2017, 11:13am