REUTERS/Naomi Tajitsu

REUTERS/Naomi Tajitsu

In my Future-proof Your Child book and presentation published by Penguin and co-authored with futurist, Dr Graeme Codrington, we talk about the fact that we are entering a brave new world: a world filled with warp-speed change, complexities, paradoxes, challenges and possibilities we have never seen before. This is both an exciting and scary time to be raising children because we are living through history.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is well and truly underway and it will reshape our lives, changing the way we live, work and play.  Much is being written about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but in reality technology has always been constantly evolving, changing society, how we do things and the global labour market.

According to Graeme Codrington, who was extensively quoted in one of Fast Company’s most read articles last year, The Top 10 Jobs in Ten Years Might Not be What You Expect:  the last two centuries have seen the agricultural sector stripped of workers, followed by the manufacturing sector. Now we are seeing the same thing happening in the tertiary sector as machines take over jobs. In the next decade white collar workers will find themselves being replaced by robots, machines and artificial intelligence. However, as certain jobs fall away, myriad new jobs will be created in new industries.

Parenting strategies: knowing about some of the jobs of the future

New jobs are appearing every day. In fact, according to McKinsey, 30% of the jobs graduates in the UK started in last year (2015) did not exist before last year! The generally accepted statistic is that 60 – 70% of the jobs our children will do have not yet been invented. Here are just a few to get you thinking…..and wondering:

4th-industrial-revolution1 • Urban farmers
• Vertical farmers
• End of life planners
• Senior caregivers
• Remote health care specialists
• Freelance professors
• Body part makers
• Climate change reversal specialists
• Senior carers
• Neuro-implant technicians
• Smart-home handyperson
• Virtual reality experience designer
• 3D printer design specialist
• Nano-medic
• Elderly wellness consultant
• Memory augmentation surgeon
• Space pilots, tour guides and architects
• Waste data handler
• Online privacy specialist
• Virtual lawyer
• 3D engineer
• Virtual clutter organiser
• Drone operators
• Cyber warfare experts
• Brain back up engineers
• Professional gamers
• Real-time MRI scan interpreters
• Neuro-robotic engineers
• Teleport specialists
• Gene screeners

What’s different about the Fourth Industrial revolution?

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

The biggest difference to previous industrial revolutions that the world has experienced is that this one won’t take decades to evolve. We are not going to go through gradual change but rather exponential change. A tsunami of change is coming consisting of advances in biotechnology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, robots, stem cell research, the Internet of [Connected] Things, 3D printing and more.

With complex technology and internet-linked devices becoming more accessible and affordable to everyone, change will spread further and faster and this will impact entire systems which is why we will see the rise and fall of new industries and job categories.

Keep an open mind to new possibilities

If you are a parent of a child between preschool and their early twenties, you need to open your mind to the fact that the world of work is not going to look like it does now for too much longer.  Already companies such as Ernst and Young are not hiring based on degree or qualification but are rather looking for future-fit young people who have the right traits to be able to adapt and thrive in a world where companies need to be nimble and flexible in order to reinvent themselves to thrive in a constantly changing world.

Guidelines for young talent entering the world of work in the next few years

Here are some guidelines for young people in high school and in the tertiary education sector who will be entering the world of work soon:

  • Get the best possible matric in order to give you access to tertiary education and choice.
  • Think broader than degrees, they are not the only option and millions of degreed people are out of work.
  • Study something you are interested in but know that whatever you study you will need to continually be adapting and upgrading as the world of work is changing at a rapid rate.
  • Cross qualifications will be advantageous eg. A doctor-engineer who can fit robotic body parts, or an architect-occupational therapist who can design ergonomic and therapeutic living spaces.
  • Having programming skills in addition to another qualification is a plus as we are all going to make increasing use of machines and robots in our jobs and they need to be taught what to do.
  • Make sure you can do something machines can’t do eg. Creativity, people skills etc.
  • Jobs that use repetitive information can be put to an algorithm and automated. Even much of the work that accountants, lawyers, doctors and engineers currently do with eventually be automated, believe it or not.
  • Artisans will be in big demand.
  • Put your entrepreneurial hat on – many of you will not be formally employed (or not for long, anyway) as you are part of the on-demand economy and will be hired for jobs or projects as required.
  • Be interested in everything and everyone – your world – and become an interesting person.
  • Attract and engage in experiences and opportunities that showcase your inner talents and areas of strength so that you can hone them into areas of expertise over time
  • Develop your Talent Profile which is way more than a CV (more about that in another blog but you can read about it in Future-proof Your Child).
  • Be prepared to commit to lifelong learning in order to keep up. Read!

For more information about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, click here for a paper by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

Click here for more information about Future-proof Your Child, the book and the talk (for parents and educators).  I also do talks for matriculants and graduates on the changing world of work entitled, The X-Factor is You! as well as consulting to business about talent management strategies, especially when it comes to Millennial Talent.

Contact Nikki Bush, a parenting expert and motivational speaker in South Africa today.