You can’t stop the future but you can plan for it. In fact, a career plan isn’t much of a plan at all if it doesn’t take into consideration some of the substantial demographic and economic changes predicted for Australia. So keeping the future in mind, here are some decisions you should consider if you want to future proof your training.
Focus on Growth Disciplines
Unless you’ve got the straps to make students bellow “O Captain! My Captain” from atop their desks, reconsider joining the glut of teaching graduates and commit to a career related to IT, science or engineering.
While the average Australian seems to go into anaphylactic shock at the sight of an equation, we’ll need to get more “sciency” as we push for greater productivity across a broad range of industries that include mining, medical technology, and green energy.
Plus, it’ll be easier to land a job. Why queue up with the latest tranche of accounting graduates or, gasp, contemporary dance hipsters when you can have a greater variety of employment options when your studies conclude?
If you’ve ever thought about getting more familiar with the inner workings of a computer or its software, check Upskilled's Diploma of IT Networking.
While there are still voices in the wilderness protesting that the American century is far from over, it’s inevitable that both China and India will increase in global importance over the coming decade. Combine that with globalisation and the increasing ubiquity of free trade, and you have a strong argument for learning another language.
While learning Spanish or French are handy for merlot-fuelled escapades by moonlight, if you want to see your currency as an employee explode become fluent in an Asian language. Mandarin or Cantonese are obvious choices, as China looks to remain our prime-trading partner for some time, but learning Thai or Malay could also be beneficial as the Asian region continues to develop.
Languages can’t be learnt overnight, despite what a few gurus say on YouTube, so be prepared for a long haul. But consider the huge advantage you’ll have over other job candidates in 5 or 6 years.
Are You Being Served?
With the upcoming exodus of the automobile industry out of Australia, our manufacturing days might as well be carved on a cave wall.
So train up for a career providing a professional service in either a large organisation or small-to-medium enterprise (SME). Soft skill development focusing on communicating with clients and mastering time management is also a must. There’ll be no room for hiding in back office roles away from shrieking phones and demanding customers.
Another consideration is that on-demand businesses, like Uber, are rapidly growing in the US. These organisations prefer hiring ‘contractors’ rather than employees. While Australia’s workplace and taxation laws might prevent this from becoming widespread here, you may want to consider training in basic business disciplines, like marketing and accounting, in case you wind up as a sole trader rather than an employee.
Train to Work for Life
Cerebral celebrity Dr Karl Kruszelnicki recently explained the relevance of Australia’s newest intergenerational report. Along with the issue of our aging population, he raised the important point that we’re all going to have to delay retirement and work for longer.
That means instead of training up for a career lasting until you’re 65 years of age, you need to think about training for a career that can carry you into your 70s – and more likely older if you’re young now.
This has huge ramifications, particularly for those of us studying for jobs that require us to be on our feet at work, such as those studying a Diploma of Salon Management. Or those already employed as nurses, hairdressers, or in the construction industry.
Plan to broaden your knowledge base by studying associated business disciplines so you can transition into roles that will be easier to manage as you age.
Cater for Generation Wrinkle
Ever met an unemployed physiotherapist? While I’m sure they’re out there, I’m yet to meet one. The ageing population mentioned above represents a huge demographic shift that will have a tangible effect on our workforce and output.
If you want to future-proof your career, train up your skills so you can cater for older Australians who’ll want to be constantly massaged with olive oil, pampered with heat stones, wined and dined at local steakhouses or a member of their local bingo team. That means training for a role in Australia’s growing barista economy, health sector or domestic tourism industry.
Those Who Fail to Plan…
Bob Dylan was right – the times they are a changing. Fortunately with all the forecasting the government has done we’ve got a pretty good idea of where we’re headed as an economy. Expect continued participation with our Asian neighbours, a sharpening of our identity as a service-based economy, more scientific and IT-driven breakthroughs and lots of old folk cruising around with shop-a-dockets for cheap life drawing classes.
You’d be mad not to customise your future training and education to account for these predictions and changes. Take up a point or two mentioned above and leap ahead of your peers. If you’re going to work until 80 plus, you may need to.
What steps have you taken to train for future economic conditions?
Do you think there’ll be any workplace surprises in the next 20 or so years? What do you think they will be? If your career is in need of a booster then consider online study. Upskilled offers around 100 courses online for you to brush up your skills and make yourself "future-proof"!