The world of work is changing and I believe that career planning skills have never been so important.  Technology, globalisation and innovation are major forces that are transforming our labour markets beyond recognition.  It has been reported that in less than 15 years, over 40% of today’s jobs will likely not exist (CEDA).  2.1 million new jobs are anticipated to be created in the next five years (World Economic Forum) and 75% of the fastest-growing occupations are expected to require STEM skills (PwC).

By 2030, automation and globalisation will likely change what we do in every job in every industry (FYA). 

There is no doubting that artificial intelligence (AI) is here to stay.  In some cases, we will work side by side with AI and it will make our jobs easier and our work more effective, but on the flip side, there are certainly more routine and repetitive jobs that will be replaced by AI in the very near future (if they haven’t already).

Take McDonalds, who have started installing automated touch-screen ordering systems; Amazon reportedly has 45,000 robots moving products around its warehouses and an Australian company has developed a robot that can lay 1000 standard bricks in one hour.

So whilst change is inevitable, thinking about careers that cannot be easily automated is smart thinking

The hardest activities to automate are those that require people skills and interaction, emotional intelligence, decision making and reasoning skills.

With our aging population, Australian Jobs 2017 highlighted that health care and social assistance has had the greatest growth over the last five years and this is expected to continue; it is hard to replace the skills used by mental health professionals, nurses, aged carers and child carers with a robot.  And there are many other jobs not easily replaced by AI – consider teachers, particularly those teaching primary school (I can’t yet imagine a robot comforting a very upset preppie or inspiring our next generation to reach for the stars).

And the future has never been brighter for our entrepreneurs – using digital technology to your advantage, you can operate at low cost and scale-up rapidly; we are entering an era where many will successfully create their own jobs with access to a global market.

And don’t forget that whilst robots might be taking over the more monotonous jobs; there is still a need to develop, maintain and service this technology.  So other jobs will be automated but new jobs will be created as a result of automation; they might just be packaged a little differently.

A recent report released by the Foundation for Young Australians highlighted that it is more likely that a 15 year old today will experience a portfolio career, potentially having 17 different jobs over 5 careers in their lifetime.

So what is the secret to navigating this new world of work?  I believe that we need to be willing to learn a living and not just earn a living.  Our ability to understand and communicate our transferable skills whilst being open to change and committed to lifelong learning are essential.  Which is why I believe that developing career planning skills now, that can be used time and again across your lifetime, has never been so important.