Our own Professor Ruth Bridgestock (Director, Curriculum & Teaching Transformation, Learning Futures) featured across a range of Australian Media across the last week talking about the changing and dynamic landscape of post-pandemic workforces, employability and new opportunities on the horizon. Ruth’s research (as part of the Shift Happens Initiative and prior work) suggests we will see a reconnection with community, social engagement and environmental sustainability enabled greatly by the expansion of digital affordances and capabilities currently generated in our current context and into the future.

What are these Capabilities and how do they relate to the future?

A wide range of future capabilities were identified as part of the 100 Jobs of the Future Project (2019) and are available via the website. The site also contains some great resources for Educators that may be used with Students and includes an interactive quiz helping Learners match those capabilities to some of the predicted future roles.

A big week for Media

Over the last week, Ruth has provided radio interviews with both Radio National and most recently ABC Radio Canberra (afternoons). On Saturday, May 23rd, Ruth was up nice and early to appear in on Channel 7 Weekend Sunrise.

What were the Media Topics?

Below is a taste of some of the most topical types of questions and areas raised in the context of a post-pandemic arena.

Why is it that so many people thinking of changing careers?

According to survey research conducted by ING Future Focus, about 3 million people in Australia are thinking of changing careers post-pandemic. The research found 35 per cent of surveyed Australians wanted a new job after COVID-19, and 17 per cent were rethinking their career path entirely.

Where are the job opportunities right now?

At present I’d describe the job opportunities out there are being about core needs – safety, food, health, and entertainment while at home. The opportunities are what you’d expect – many job roles in healthcare and social care, in essential retail (supermarkets), and in logistics and delivery work. As the economy opens up more, there will be more opportunities in retail again, but hospitality and tourism are likely to be rocky labour markets for some time.

How do people maximise their career adaptability in order to successfully change careers?

Career change is a multi-step process. The first step is to make space for yourself to think and act. No one who is under severe financial stress can think strategically or creatively about their careers, so ensure that you have done everything you can to ensure your financial safety first. This might be applying for government benefits, talking to your bank to stop mortgage payments temporarily, or making the most of the job opportunities I’ve described above, even though it may not align 100% with where you want to go.

What will work look like in the future?

I’ve been involved in several research projects investigating the future of work. While none of them predicted the COVID-19 pandemic specifically, we did predict that there would be major changes to the world of work over the next few years. My research suggests that change is actually going to become the ‘new normal’, and many of us will need to reinvent ourselves professionally multiple times throughout the course of our careers.

What about career opportunities beyond the immediate future?

At the moment the economy is in a deep recession. Even while the recession is going on, COVID-19 is driving enormous digital transformation. When the economy recovers, there will be even more digital innovation across many fields.

In the research project 100 Jobs of the Future, we interviewed experts and asked them to identify key trends and advances in their fields, and project what key work opportunities in the next 10-20 years might be. The 100 jobs are meant to inspire and help young people (and not so young people!) see possibilities in the next wave of careers.

Jobs I would personally love to do out of the 100 jobs: Trendwatcher, fusionist (someone who brings people from different disciplines together to solve problems and generate ideas), lifelong education advisor (and I’m already doing all three of these!)

Expanding on the Interview…

There is a lot to say on this topic, and Ruth has provided a related article drilling down on these areas in this blog.

Making career changes – COVID-19 and the future of work