How to prepare kids for jobs that don’t even exist today
Ask children what they hope to contribute to the world, not what they want to be when they grow up
Twenty years ago you would have not heard a child say he wanted to be a social media analyst or chief listening officer.
In fact, according to Durban psychologist Paul Bushell, your child’s future profession probably doesn’t even exist yet.
In his new book, #raisingkids, Bushell advises parents to stop asking children what they want to be when they grow up.
“The reality is we are currently raising children for jobs that don’t exist. In 20 years’ time, 50% of the jobs that we know now won’t exist and that poses exciting challenges for parents and people working with children. We should rather be asking children what they want to contribute to the world in the future,” he said.
According to Bushell, rapid technological innovation in a globalised world make it difficult for parents to imagine what the future looks like.He believes that children should be raised to be resilient to change and to understand that professions change according to new technology.
“Asking them what they want to be when they grow up is limiting in a sense because you are asking a child to say something that might have no relevance. Maybe a more useful question is: What do you hope to contribute to the world?
“If we really want to do good by young people, we need to raise them to be able to understand themselves and other people because while technology changes, people are the constant.”Bushell explained that while some traditional jobs may not become extinct, roles would have to change to keep up with technology.
“There was a flu outbreak in the United Kingdom and the National Health Insurance did not have enough general practitioners to screen everyone. Patients were told to enter their symptoms into a computer which then issued a script for medication or referred them to a specialist. It is an example of the fact that GPs may have not become extinct but their jobs would be shared. And they will have to start moving into different spaces to coincide with technology.”University of Stellenbosch Business School future studies graduate Roze Phillips predicts bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks are at the highest risk of becoming extinct.
Phillips, who is also the managing director of Accenture Consulting in Africa, said almost 5.7 million jobs are at risk of total digital automation within a mere seven years.
“In recent times, many manufacturing and standard business process-intensive jobs were outsourced to countries where labour was cheaper. Those jobs rarely made it back to home soil but at least outsource recipient countries benefited from the employment opportunities created there.
“Today, the same phenomenon occurs. But now, the search for labour arbitrage is no longer between physical geographies; today, jobs are lost to the digital world and will, in all probability, never be done by humans again.”Jobs that did not exist 20 years ago:
A social media analyst boosts a company’s online presence and brand awareness through use of social media networks, blogs and online search engine optimisation.
A chief listening officer has to have his ears and eyes on everything said about a company online and to keep track on social media what the buzz is about the company. The officer then passes on complaints, tips and product ideas from customers to relevant departments.
YouTube content creator.
Cyber forensic analyst.