This is ground-breaking stuff! This new approach is radical but empowering; as well as innovative and enlightening!
To quote from the forword of the research paper “THE NEW WORK MINDSET 7 new job clusters to help young people navigate the new work order”:
“There is an urgent need to shift mindsets in our approach to jobs, careers and work. New big data analysis provides us with insights into the patterns of skills young people now require to navigate complex and uncertain working lives.
We must act now to ensure young Australians can thrive in the new world of work.”
This big data analysis indicates a very serious and urgent need for educators to change what we teach, at least in terms of our focus and priorities, and most especially in the senior secondary years, prior to our students entering further education, training and the work environment.
There is now a great deal of research and evidence that the world of work is changing dramatically and even faster than the leading experts could possibly have predicted.
One of the most revolutionary books on the new world of work, was ‘The Second Machine Age’ by Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee published in 2014. Kevin Kelly, senior maverick for Wired and author of What Technology Wants”, wrote of this book that “Technology is overturning the world’s economies, and The Second Machine Age is the best explanation of this revolution yet written.” [See my introduction to this book here]
The co-author, Andrew McAfee was the Keynote Speaker at ReImagiNation’16, the ACS’s major conference in Sydney yesterday.
In a brilliant presentation he acknowledged this reality when he spoke about the amazing leap forward in machine learning in 2016 when the program AlphaGo beat the brilliant world champion Go player, Lee Sedol, a development that no-one saw coming, and which demonstrates a very significant advancement in AI.
The predictions that at least 40% of existing jobs will be significantly impacted or replaced by ‘machine learning’ automation over the 10-15 years may prove to be a far too conservative estimate.
So what is the big deal with this ground-breaking research conducted here in Australia?
The ‘big data’ analysis, using a special ‘clustering algorithm’, has found the over 1000 occupations in Australia can be divided into 7 job clusters, where the enterprise skills are very similar such that someone employed in a specific job in a ‘job cluster’ can transfer to one of 44 other jobs in that cluster with the addition of only one (1) additional skill!
They discovered that there are some 13 transferable enterprise skills that all the jobs in 1 ‘cluster’ share. [“In fact, on average, when an individual trains or works in 1 job, they acquire skills for 13 other jobs.” – page 6]
The data also highlights some rather alarming trends. For example the demand for digital skills is up by 212% over the last 3 years yet over 27% of school leavers have low proficiency in digital literacy (let alone any digital skills that could be classed at the level of fluency or mastery).
Also the demand for critical thinking skuills is up 158% (a skill set that can be dramatically improved through the effective use of digital technology).
But most importantly, the data indicates which job clusters have strong potential job growth and which are in serious jeopardy of being negatively impacted in a major way by the revolution in automation, digitalisation and globalisation that Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee detail so well in their book.
Below is an overview from the research paper of the relative strength and weakness in terms of future job prospects for each of these 7 job clusters.
Looking at which clusters appear to have strong future potential, they are The Carers, The Informers, and The Technologists.
With the exception of some of the occupations in The Carers job cluster, there is a very strong and clear emphasis on digital enterprise skills.
Thus, it should also be very clear from this data and the whole report is that there is a very serious need to teach basic digital literacy skills to all school students, especially senior secondary students as well as some degree of the more ‘advanced digital skills that will be required for the future, such as ‘computational thinking’, ‘new-media literacy’, ‘design mindset’ and ‘virtual collaboration’’ – see the appendix.
Before I go into more depth on the implications, and what I see as the most crucial changes that schools need to make to adequately prepare their students for this new future, please read this research paper.
If you haven’t read the report yet, access it here: http://www.fya.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/The-New-Work-Mindset.pdf