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Trends Redefining the Future of Work

The rise of the care economy

The World Economic Forum estimates that almost 40% of the job opportunities for 2020-2023 are being created in the care economy. Unsurprisingly, healthcare-related work dominates much of Australia’s Jobs on the Rise list, with frontline workers, such as doctors, nurses and paramedics, topping Australia’s Jobs on the Rise list. While COVID-19 has no doubt fuelled demand across this sector, health care and social assistance, perhaps better known as the care economy, is Australia’s largest and fastest growing industry, employing more than 1.5 million people. The sector covers all stages of life, from childcare to aged care, and incorporates a range of roles, such as medical technicians, physical therapists, social workers, patient services, and psychologists.

Transferable skills are in demand

The value of transferable skills is that while some industries have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, others have faced a huge demand. Many people from industries badly affected by COVID-19 were more likely to apply for jobs in a different industry. For example, State governments needed thousands of new service workers with excellent interpersonal skills to help customers navigate COVID-19 restrictions. Roles across a range of industries don’t necessarily require direct experience or a degree but rather the skills to do the work – meaning opportunities are open to people with a wide variety of backgrounds.

The nature of work and careers is changing fast – and in the future, the right skills will be prized over academic qualifications alone,” The World Economic Forum Jobs Reset Summit (May 2021).

The acceleration of remote work and digital transformation

From being able to order groceries and supplies online, to staying socially connected despite physical distance, COVID-19 has accelerated our digital transformation. It also spurred a shift to remote work, which is making opportunities more accessible than ever before. Atlassian, a Software Development company, made remote working a permanent option, while Australia’s financial services sector expect working from home to be a lasting option. There has been a fourfold increase in remote job opportunities since June and many of these emerging jobs can be done remotely – from online learning to digital content freelancing. This does mean it is essential to master basic digital skills. For those looking to upskill their digital abilities a range of free short online courses exist, from software development, data analysis and project management to digital marketing and product management.

Automation continues to increase yet human capital is increasingly important

Instead of fearing the rate of automation and the impact on the number of jobs available, Deloitte Insights 2021 reports: It’s time for organisations to shift from a survive mindset to a thrive mindset. Making this shift depends on an organization’s becoming – and remaining – distinctly human at its core, because today’s environment of extreme dynamism calls for a degree of courage, judgement and flexibility that only humans can bring.

While ongoing disruption and uncertainty is likely to continue in the next few years, there are still various opportunities for talent with a range of experience and skills. A lifelong learning mindset is crucial for professionals looking to develop themselves and adapt to the workforce of the future. It is reasonable to conclude that workers who are equipped with digital skills — even at a basic level — will have an edge in finding employment opportunities.

Michelle Kath
Head of Pathways