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How NBN and Bernard Salt Want To Future-Proof Your Job

fotolia_32098167_xsNone of us need to be reminded that we are living and working in a period of rapid change. Being able to move with that change in a responsive way is exceedingly challenging. What is even more challenging, however, is the uncertain and unpredictable nature of that change.

That’s what makes a new report, released on Monday, 7th September, so important. “Super Connected Jobs : Understanding Australia’s Future Workforce” was commissioned by Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) and written by KPMG Demographer, Bernard Salt. The NBN and Bernard Salt want to future-proof your job for you. While it highlights the dramatic changes and transformations that have taken place in the Australian workforce in the first 15 years of this 21st century, more importantly, it predicts the even greater changes that will occur in the next decade to 2025. For those who want to future-proof their jobs, this is mandatory reading. Salt demonstrates strongly in the report that new technology and new ways of accessing that technology, largely driven by the roll out of the NBN, will change how Australians work, where they work and what kind of work they do.

He highlights 5 clusters of jobs that will be most in demand in the future.

The Care Givers.

The jobs of the future here include youth workers, social workers, child care workers, aged or disabled carers, massage therapists, fitness instructors and beauty therapists. For example, there has been a 109% increase from 2001-2011 in jobs in the aged and disability sector.

The Technocrats.

The jobs of the future here include medical laboratory scientists, engineering managers and electrical engineers. They are the people with the skills sets to “create, analyse, manage and improve consumer products and services.”

The Specialist Professionals.

Because Salt forecasts the Australian population will increase by 6 million by 2030, he sees jobs in health, teaching, accounting, psychology, and public administration to be in high demand to meet the needs of that growing population.

The Doers.

Salt sees many of these jobs being the existing jobs, scaled up to deliver more effectively and efficiently by the use of technology. Electricians, carpenters, plumbers have been some of the fastest growing jobs in Australia since the 2006 census, for example.

The Creatives.

This is an interesting part of the report, what Salt calls “Lifestyle Jobs Growth”, jobs for people who are not driven by commercial considerations. “Some of the fastest growing jobs in the future.” He says, “will be jobs that accommodate the life-style aspirations of older baby boomer workers.” There are more of them in the workforce today than ever before and this will only increase by 2030. The jobs of the future here include outdoor adventure instructors, fitness instructors, make-up artists, dietitians, pet groomers, photographers, dance teachers and beauty therapists.

As well as giving a broad analysis of why the jobs of the future lie within these clusters, Salt also give a snapshot of how someone in one of these jobs might do that job differently in the next decade and there is a strong thread of entrepreneurialism in each description. No comment I make here can do justice to Salt’s analysis of these jobs of the future and I urge you to read the report.

One of the most significant changes that has impacted on the workplace and jobs today has been the shift from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy, from manufacturing jobs to professional knowledge workers, those people who did a professional course of study at a university.

All over Australia manufacturing plants have been closing, creating angst for workers and challenges for the cities in which they live in finding them new employment options.  The skills and processes that brought people success in the industrial economy do not bring the same success in the knowledge economy. Yet leaders and their organisations are challenged in determining, developing and enhancing the skills that will future-proof their employees’ and organisations’ success into the future.

Bernard Salt has consistently in recent times, stressed that employees need to complement their technical skills with soft skills. In this report he says that the ”new generation of workers”, as well as being better skilled technically and more entrepreneurial, will need to be “in possession of more sophisticated soft skills or social skills.”

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