People often think of careers as a climb up the ranks of job seniority, starting in the trainee cubicle and aiming for the executive offices. Today careers are often not so linear. While virtually every child is asked, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’, only 6% of adults end up in the careers they wanted when they were younger.
Instead of training for a particular occupation and working in that area for life, some studies have estimated that Australians will make 17 changes in employers across 5 different careers. Compounding the uncertainty is the reality that many jobs of the future don’t exist today. The World Economic Forum has argued that “in many industries and countries, the most in-demand occupations or specialties did not exist 10 years ago.”
In fact, in Australia, over the past 25 years, we have lost 1 million jobs in manufacturing, administration and labouring but gained more than 1 million jobs in the knowledge and service industries. Amidst this uncertainty, every young Australian has to make choices that will affect their future options like: what subjects to study at school; what courses to take at TAFE or university; what apprenticeships to go for; and what first job they should apply for? While none of these choices are irreversible, they are important because they collectively shape our career and employment options over time. In order for young people to make decisions, they need to have information that simplifies the complex world of work and helps them navigate work over a lifetime. This report uses a new methodology for analysing the patterns contained in millions of online job advertisements, in order to shed new light on navigating uncertainty.