What role can employers play in preparing young people for the future of work?

What role can employers play in preparing young people for the future of work?

We all know the world of work is changing. The pace of change has never been so great nor as disruptive as it is today.

These changes mean 60 per cent of Australian students (71 percent of those in VET) are currently studying or training for occupations where the vast majority of jobs will be radically altered by automation. Many of the jobs they’re studying for could vanish in 10-15 years’ time. Just as these disappear however, new and different ones will be created simultaneously.

In the new, dynamic world of work, traditional, linear pathways to work are less common.

Despite all these changes, our mindset about work and the resulting advice we provide to young people remains largely the same. We rely on stereotypes of jobs that we know have always been there, and suggest training or educational pathways that would once have secured a job in these occupations. Yet in this new work order where young people are predicted to have 17 jobs over 5 careers, this thinking no longer serves.  

Client Engagement Manager at Randstad, Sally Mortimer works with HR directors and managers on their talent strategies including providing advice on day-today recruitment, as well as consulting services incorporating career development and placements. How to keep up with a constantly evolving workforce – and ensure their workers aren’t left behind – is a daily conversation.

“Young graduates come to us with a great attitude and an eagerness to develop their capabilities. Most graduates have a degree or technical training but they often lack skills like networking or communication,” Sally explains.

“The challenges in terms of attracting and retaining appropriate skillsets is a consistent focus…in particular how to ensure young graduates can adapt and navigate this new world of work.”

FYA’s latest report The New Work Mindset analysed 2.7 million job advertisements to reveal 7 new clusters of work.

These clusters highlight that jobs are closely related and more portable than previously thought – when a young person trains or works 1 job they acquire skills that will help them get 13 other jobs.

The analysis highlights that our approach to work need to change – to think in terms of skills instead of jobs.

So how can employers support this shift?

“Employers need to be agile and focus on shifting to a hiring practice where a candidate’s skills and capabilities, as well as their potential to build new skills in the future, is recognised,” Sally said.

“The willingness to build employees skills should also be ongoing throughout their employment. This would widen the pool of candidates and may help to both reduce vacancies and drive better labour-market matching.”

One Ranstad client who is about to shift their operations to a model where service engineers will have a significantly more tech–based job as opposed to manual labour, has started upskilling their employees to manage this change.  

“This company has begun identifying and upskilling employees whose capabilities and corporate knowledge are still relevant, but need to build their skill portfolio to maintain relevance for the company. This will ensure that these people are still employable – not only by this organisation but by other companies in future if they choose to move positions.”

“This is a great thing to be able to give back to employees. Plus it also increases the likelihood that a company will be able to retain their employees – we know that they’re likely to have 17 jobs across 5 careers in their lifetime, so why not ensure that at least 3 of those careers are at your company?”

Ranstad has also developed a program called ‘Shaping Young Futures’ which gives young people access to up-to-date content and resources as well as access to events that aim to help build the capabilities required for many jobs.

“There’s so much for employers to gain in terms of reducing staff turnover and increasing employee longevity within an organisation by looking at what skillsets are required for their organisation in the future and invest in building the skills of their employees going forward.”

Want to know more about the job clusters? Read FYA’s New Work Mindset report here.

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