Jobs of the Future for Our Kids

It’s that time of year again. Father’s Day. With lots of social media posts on what makes fathers so special. One post that struck a chord with me, drew a parallel between mothers and fathers, saying that whilst women carried their children in their hearts for a lifetime, fathers carried them in their heads. As a father of an impressionable 11-year old – nothing rang truer than this for me.

For me, my duty as a parent, is to carefully cultivate and enrich my children’s lives during the first 18 years with two main skillsets – life skills that build emotional stability and a formal education, which will ultimately enable their economic survival. Nothing new about that. But now there’s a twist.

Educational systems in fact have often not kept pace with the changing needs of the workplace and a survey from McKinsey on Technology, Jobs and the Future of Work conducted with young jobseekers and employers across nine countries validates this situation.

Approximately, 40% of employers today stated that a lack of skills was the main reason for entry-level job vacancies, and 60% said that new graduates were not adequately prepared for the world of work. Besides, gaps in technical skills in STEM subject degrees, many soft skills including communication, teamwork, and punctuality remained unaddressed.

Conversely, this situation will lead to workforce resources left feeling underutilized, simply because their jobs don’t help develop their skills or provide challenges to learn from. So, this leaves us with a very important question of – what can we do today to help build careers that are built to last for tomorrow, with a right balance of both technical and soft skills?

No longer a one-role journey

In a fast-changing digital world, our much-loved roles of a lifetime are likely to be disrupted with technology automation; running the very real risk of being replaced by a machine in the next 20 years. I have not seen the change we had in the last three years ever in my entire business life.

The Digital Age has not only changed the way we interact and socialize, but has also redefined the way the younger generation hurtles towards their professional destinies. And as technology comes into the mix at every stage, the possibility of job redundancies that our children may face, forces us to rethink the career skills we equip them for.

How are we then, to equip our children with professional skills that will still be relevant for them in the next 50 years of their professional lives?

New technologies bring new opportunities for skillsets

A World Economic Forum Report on The Future of Jobs cites that as the Fourth Industrial Revolution dawns on us, developments in genetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and biotechnology, to name just a few, are all building and amplifying one another. Particularly for the UAE, the research has also mapped the primary skill clusters for the future of innovation to include Robotics, Data Science, 3D Printing and the Internet of Things, which will be the main physical and digital drivers of the fourth industrial revolution. Together with Big Data skill sets, the UAE has been ranked 16th globally in having the highest number of 3D printing and design talent, with 60% of 3D professionals working for local UAE companies.

The jobs of the future

From my vantage point, I believe that the relevant roles for the coming years will likely drive four key pillars for businesses today offering a great mix of technical, as well as, important soft skills. So, here’s my take on the STEM as well as soft skills that the younger generation will need to develop to stay relevant:

1. Competitive Advantage and Intuitive Business Models
Big Data skills
Statistical Analysis
Process Transformation
Business and Financial Operations
Critical Thinking
People and Talent Management

2. Delivery of new and existing services more conveniently and securely
Cloud and Distributed Computing
Web Architecture and Development Framework
Middleware and Integration Software
Network and Information Security
Co-ordination Skills
Service Orientation

3. Exploring new business models and revenue opportunities
Data Mining and Real Time Intelligence
Smart and Connected Technologies
Social Intelligence and Marketing
Judgement and Decision Making

4. Connecting data sources to drive customer experience
Mobile Development
Data Presentation and Visualization Technologies
Efficient Data Storage Systems and Management
Education and Training
User Interface Design
Cognitive Flexibility

So, just before the Eid, I will be looking at these transformations as a field of opportunities. Because I really do believe this is a magical time where anything is possible. And I will look at my son and think long hard, on how I can personally help positively direct his journey and help him to stay relevant.

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