Home / Education / What Should We Teach Our Children? The Future of Computer Technology Replacing People in Jobs

The Future of Jobs: Computer technology innovations hold the promise of a brighter future for many people. The world is moving towards a future of improved productivity through automation and exploring the potential of a technology-driven society through the continued development of artificial intelligence. However, as the world changes and new possibilities are explored, it won’t all be smooth sailing.

The job market is set to see one of the most drastic repercussions of improved technology. Predictions look very bleak for the jobs of many people in industries like retail, transportation and storage, and manufacturing. One prediction from PwC sees 30% of UK jobs being lost to automation by 2030, including millions of manufacturing, wholesale and administration jobs in the UK.

Changes to the job market pose many challenges, particularly for education. The children in primary and secondary schools today will experience the full brunt of these changes when they first enter the job market. This poses a quandary of what schools should be teaching today to prepare children for the job market of tomorrow.

The Career Paths of the Future

The areas hardest hit by developments in automation are expected to be low-skilled jobs, where automation could lead to some of the largest productivity increases. This could leave a number of industries to take the brunt of reduced job opportunities, creating considerable inequality in the job market. This is especially the case as improved technology could also lead to different job opportunities away from low-skilled jobs, as per the predictions from PwC.

It’s possible that a range of new jobs will be in high demand in the coming years. In 2018, Cognizant produced a second list of 21 new jobs that could exist in the future. The list include many jobs centred around technology, such as virtual identity defenders, cyber attack agents, and voice UX designers.
It’s not just new careers that will fill the future job market, some existing careers are not expected to be as affected by computer technology as others. According to a study performed by Oxford University in 2013, that examined the likelihood of computerisation for 702 jobs, a number of jobs are considered to be safe or low-risk against the threat of automation. These include jobs in mental health, dietitians, occupational therapists, and surgeons.

What Should Children Be Taught?

The better the understanding of the job market in the future, the better the children of today can be prepared to find jobs. However, determining what should be taught is very difficult, as many in-demand jobs of the future simply don’t exist yet – research from Dell Technologies and the Institute for the Future predicts that 85% of the jobs in 2030 don’t exist today.
One way to prepare for the changing job market is to direct teaching towards the expected job market of tomorrow. The technology, health, and energy industries are currently booming, a trend that is expected to continue; technology is developing at a rapid rate, health has a very low risk of automation, and the world is pushing for sustainable energy development.
Another approach, that the government has already considered the great benefits of, in a recent report from the Government Office for Science, is teaching lifelong learning skills and creating a society where lifelong learning is the norm. These skills include problem-solving, creavity, critical thinking, collaboration, adaptability, and communication, all of which could greatly help children to prepare for new job opportunities and adapt to the changing world.

The job market is going to change in the coming years, and for children to be prepared, the school curriculum needs to reflect the skills they’ll need in the industries where job opportunities are in high quantity, and adopt the value of lifelong learning.

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