News ID: 153550
Published: 0316 GMT June 20, 2016

Why are we so complacent about skills for future?

Why are we so complacent about skills for future?

Making predictions can be a fool’s game. We don’t know what’s going to happen next week, let alone what our world will look like in five years, or 50.

Still, history teaches us to expect change. Take the workplace as an example. The jobs that were a staple a century ago no longer exist, and many jobs people have now weren’t around a decade ago.

Yet new research from the City and Guilds Group into skills confidence across the UK, US, India and South Africa found that three quarters of us are confident our jobs will exist in a decade, according to the Telegraph.

More than nine in 10 British employees are confident in their own skills and productivity, and only 27 percent and 17 percent respectively are worried about the impact of immigration and globalization on their job prospects.

"We are expecting to live and work for longer, meaning our skills have more chance of becoming obsolete."

It’s hard to reconcile this with the endless headlines we see about the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence. The World Economic Forum recently warned that in the next five years. we could lose more than seven million jobs worldwide due to redundancy, automation or disintermediation.

Equally, we are expecting to live and work for longer, meaning our skills have more chance of becoming obsolete.

Surely we will need new skills to respond to the future world of work. So why are we so complacent?

These challenges are perhaps most significant for the young. In 2014, PWC predicted there would be ‘rioting’ across campuses by 2020 due to the uncertain jobs market.

That might seem extreme, but ‘Gen Z’ are undoubtedly less likely to find job security for life as we move towards ‘the gig economy’ where temporary positions and short-term contracts are the norm.

Sure, an ageing population could mean more opportunities because there are fewer people getting on the jobs ladder. And yes, young people could find it easier to move abroad for work. But with global skills migration and people retiring later, the competition for good jobs will be fierce.

You’d think young people would be worried about this. But that’s not the case. Our research found that, like older Britons, 16-24 year olds are optimistic; 40 percent do not think a multigenerational workforce will impact their job prospects, and 42 percent say the same about increased immigration.

Nearly half show no concern about the decline of traditional industries, and nearly nine in 10 are confident their skills will be relevant in 10 years’ time. Most still expect to retire and remain confident there is such a thing as a job for life. Of the 16-24-year-olds we questioned, two thirds think automation will affect them – but a third don’t.

And, almost half believe they have the right skills to help a business succeed. This contradicts what organizations like the Confederation of British Industry and British Chambers of Commerce have said for years – young people starting out in the workplace don’t have the skills employers are looking for.


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