The Australian workplace is evolving rapidly due to the changing nature of work itself, changing demographics as more digital natives join the workforce, and due to the changing expectations of Australian workers. Technological advancements are causing rapid workplace shifts and we are moving into an era where hard skills will expire.
It’s vital that the next generation of workers is prepared for the future world of work. The younger generations have the opportunity to leverage instant access to information and knowledge to identify areas of passion and interest that can help to generate the necessary skills of the future. It’s the responsibility of the current generation to provide the space and opportunities for the next generation to explore and experience as much as possible so that they can thrive in a world that requires agility and flexibility like never before.
While trends are changing at an unprecedented rate, there are some skills that every individual must possess to survive in the future workplace:
The future of work is transforming professional development needs from specialised skills training and education degrees to lifelong learning. As the emphasis on hard skills shifts to soft skills, the workforce will need to adapt and grow on the job, which has shifted focus towards continually up-skilling soft skills to adapt to the inevitable changes in the workplace. New and dynamic training approaches that build life and work skills are required.
Education institutions and public sector organisations must expand their training approaches and program offerings beyond specialised occupational training to include more all-encompassing life skills experience and knowledge application. This will present new avenues for the next generation to aspire to and begin preparing for when they enter the workplace.
Likewise, with the rise of disruptive technologies such as AI and blockchain, it’s predicted that more than two million new jobs will be created in sectors such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Therefore, the provision of digitally-focused courses and degrees such as AI, cybersecurity, robotics, and digital forensics must rise to equip the next generation with these vital skills.
It’s also important to nurture the passion and confidence of the next generation. Encouraging members of the next generation to follow their dreams and have confidence in their ability to succeed will push them to create growth in society by making a change in key industries or building new companies. Workplaces can spark this by providing mentors or coaching when new-generation employees enter the workplace to let them feel supported to develop more skills that can be useful in the long-term.
It is a shared responsibility to educate and train these digital natives, with both the education and private sector having a duty to take up the challenge for digital readiness by providing the next generation with the necessary skills early on.
The world now belongs to digital natives, so the employers that invest in providing a skilled workforce not just with the hard skills to do their job but with the career development, applied learning and soft skills experience that contribute to an employee’s greater professional growth, are the ones that will survive and thrive in the future of work.