Skills for the future jobs

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Yogesh Khosla
At a time when growing joblessness is of great concern in India, its time to look at the issue from different perspectives. Which jobs will be in greater demand in the future and which will be out of favour? Beyond technical knowledge and skills, which other skills are valued by the employers? Are we giving our children the right knowledge and skills and attitudes so that they are ready for the future? We investigate these issues.
FUTURE OF JOBS
Microsoft Education recently joined hands with Mckinsey’s Education Practice and brought out a Research Report titled “The Class of 2030” (Class I students of today will pass out of school in 2030). This significant Report is based on survey of a large number of students and educators, in-depth review of 150 most credible research findings and interviews with 70 leading thought leaders of the world. Even though the report pertains to developed and advanced societies like US, UK, Canada and Singapore, there are important pointers for us in India.
Here are some of its main findings and forecasts:-
* Advances in technology will cause major disruptions in the workforce, as automation could replace upto 50% existing jobs.
* Less than 50 percent of students will be ready for the fastest growing jobs of the future.
* With the existing skill sets, shelf life of employees will be significantly shortened and they will be changing jobs more frequently.
* On average, by 2020, more than one third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today.
World Economic Forum’s Global Challenges Insight Report titled “The Future of Jobs” was published in 2016. WEF did surveys of 371 largest global employers of different commercial and industrial sectors of 15 major developed and emerging economies including India.
Here are some of the main findings and forecasts in the WEF Report as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution:-
* About 65 percent of children entering school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.
* Administrative and routine white collar functions are at risk of being decimated completely due to automation.
* Strong growth is expected in jobs related to ICT, Mathematics, Architecture, Engineering, Transport and Logistics.
* A net negative impact is expected on the number of jobs in Healthcare sector due to mobile internet and cloud technology enabling widespread application of telemedicine. Job profile of many jobs in this sector will change significantly.
* Two job types are expected to be in much demand in the future- specialized Data Analysts and specialized Sales Executives.
SKILLS FOR TOMORROW
According to WEF, by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not considered crucial to the job today. According to WEF, following skills and attitudes will be valued in the future:
* Experts and employers across all sectors of economy and industries consider complex problem solving as one of the most important and desirable cognitive skills for success in the future.
* Cognitive abilities (such as creativity and mathematical reasoning) and process skills (such as active listening and critical thinking) will be a growing part of core skills for the future.
* Overall, social and emotional skills- such as persuation, team work, emotional intelligence and teaching/ counseling others, will be in high demand across industries and sectors as narrow technical and professional competence is not considered sufficient to succeed.
* Data analysis and ability to work with data (making visual presentations based on data and making data-based decisions) will become an increasingly vital skill across many job families.
Microsoft Mckinsey Report also identifies similar desired skills for the future:
“Our research indicates that new thinking and practices are needed to ensure students develop both cognitive and socio- emotional skills necessary to succeed in their personal and professional lives. While the class of 2030 will need deeper cognitive skills in priority areas such as creativity and problem solving, social-emotional skills such as relationship building, self awareness, and self-recognition will be increasingly important, since they not only support academic learning but also promote well-being. In a survey of thousands of big employers, 58% said that new college graduates are not adequately prepared for today’s workforce, noting a particular gap in social-emotional skills. 55 percent youth agree with these findings.”
How are we preparing for the challenges posed by the above findings?
ALARM BELLS RINGING
UNESCO’s recent report titled “The Global Learning Crisis” points out how education systems are failing to keep pace with rapid changes and in equipping students with the skills, knowledge and attitudes to meet the challenges.
Says Silvia Montoya, Director of UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics in a recent blog:
“Only half of the world’s children achieve minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics by the time they leave school. We face a global crisis and the prospect of a lost generation. Young people, who represent the world’s dynamic human resource are about three times more likely to be unemployed than adults.”
World Bank’s World Development Report- 2018 titled “Learning: To Realize Education’s Promise” also presents a dismal picture of learning outcomes in low and middle income countries including India.
Our Educators, Policy makers and Curriculum Framework makers need to take into account the present deficiencies and the future needs to transform education.
THE WAY FORWARD
In this context, Education, Engagement & Employability Vision 2028 given in Prof. Amitabh Mattoo’s “Empowering Youth of Jammu and Kashmir” is an important document. Prof. Mattoo and his team in the STATE KNOWLEDGE INITIATIVE PLATFORM (SKIP) recommend innovation, research, technology, better monitoring and better governance for improving teaching and learning in our schools and colleges. SKIP identifies the development of new skill-sets in children as the basis of transforming education in J&K:
“Education must equip students with the skills they need to lead meaningful and healthy lives. Students require reasoning, critical thinking and analytical skills to be able to meet the challenges of a connected world. They also need social-emotional skills to be able to interact better with peers and the communities around them. Modern pedagogical practices must be used to give children 21st century skills.”