Future Careers for the Emerging Generations

Thursday, January 05, 2017

In Australian there are more than 3.7 million school students around 1.5 million university students with another 1.2 million tertiary students in the vocational education sector. This means that more than 1 in 4 Australians are students and so an understanding of the future of work is an important area. 

Based on the current trends, almost half of the Year 12 students about to complete their exams will end up with a university degree. While they will start their earning years later, they will live longer and work later in life than any previous generation – on average, into their late 60’s. They will stay on average 1.8 years per job early in their career and average about 3 years per job over their working life which means they will have 17 different jobs in their lifetime, across an estimated 5 careers.

Some of the jobs they will hold don’t currently exist, just as mainstream jobs today such as app developer, social media manager and cyber security professional didn’t exist when they began their schooling. Already, working as a virtual reality engineer, cognitive computer expert, data visualisation designer or medical nanotechnologist is nothing unusual. This is very relevant in an area where almost 2 in 3 workers (63%) are white collar, employed in professional, managerial and administrative roles compared to less than half the workforce nationally (49%).

The last few years of disruption has shown us that any role that can be replaced by technology will be. While technology is great for automating systems and replacing repetitive functions, it is not strong at adapting to complex change and engaging with people. Therefore, to future proof careers and skills, today’s young people will need to develop their social interactions, their creative problem solving and their resilience to adapt to a constantly changing workplace. In other words, by being collaborative, responsive and innovative, today’s local students will be enabled to thrive in global careers, now and over the decades ahead.


1. Let’s look at education in Australia, how many students are there?

A total of 6.4 million students in Australia. 3.7 million school students, 1.5 million uni students and 1.2 million tertiary students in the vocational education sector.

2. So how will employment and careers look in the future for these current students?

Firstly, they will live longer than previous generations, work a lot later as well – into their late 60’s, they will move jobs more frequently, staying about 3 years per job, which means they will have 17 separate jobs in their life time and work in an estimated 5 careers. They will be a generation of lifelong learners having to plug back into education to upskill and retrain throughout their lives. In this era of online services like Uber, Airtasker and delivery services, we have seen the rise of the “gig-economy” and more of this generation will end up being freelancers, contractors or contingent workers than ever before. Recent research shows that a third of the national workforce currently participates in contingent work, and more than 3 in 4 employers believe that it will be the norm for people to pick up extra work through job related websites or apps.

3. So what are some of the jobs of the future and what is creating them?

Technology is the first driver. While it is replacing many jobs as seen in manufacturing sector it is also creating many new jobs such as virtual reality engineers, cyber security, nanotechnology digital services, block chain engineers.

4. Are there other factors that are creating emerging jobs?

Yes, the demographic change is creating new opportunities. Australia is growing and the ageing population means that we will need more people in health care aged care and retirement services than ever before. Our increasingly culturally diverse population is creating greater opportunities for people working human services, social work and translation services. And social trends and generational changes are creating new opportunities too. It’s a visual area, so data visualisation or indeed virtual reality applications have created new and emerging roles. Our lives are more complex and in an era of mobility, app development, user experience manager and online shopping experts have emerged to respond to our new customer needs.

5. So how do we future proof our careers in times of great change?

Firstly, be responsive. Everything that can be automated will be and if a job can be done more efficiently through technology, outsourcing or offshoring then it will be. Therefore we need to look at our industry and career and respond to the trends both local and global and upskill and retrain to remain relevant.

Secondly, be innovative. Computers are great at doing repetitive tasks but they are not designed to being creative or add innovation. If we can develop the ability to solve problems, improve systems, be proactive and add value our roles will be indispensable.

Finally, be collaborative. Future careers involves not just an understanding of technology but an understanding of people. Those who can effectively communicate, deal well with others, create a collaborative environment, lead people and motivate teams will always be in demand, and these are areas that computers cannot replace.

Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


23 million future proofing case study priorities eliane miles aussie culture mccrindle in the media insights infographic wall village townhouses slideshare cost of living low density group VIC ageing baby names ethnography schools students Mark McCrindle NSW mythbusting sector grandparents seasons emerging generations Gen Y future of work names google February 16 capital city coffee visual networking workforce brand experience australians staying home more debate Australian schools mccrindle award winner sydney event jobs of the future debt professional speaker census results Financial Planning Association housing affordability ultimo politics lalor park TDE moderators guide experience household business index men community event report financial future travel Aussie manly balance baby name wealth tableau 1975 financial teacher earning faux-cilising SA investing suburbs families ACF 2016 wedding urban taskforce criminal System's Architect school Financial Planning Week professional services NEETs greatness New South Wales marriages Kiwi REIV National Conference australian communities trends report communicate deloitte product story 2012 meetings Northern Territory FOMO mccrindle research social shifts Wodonga Adelaide long weekend career analysis goal ideas "know the times" hornsby sydney hills publication renting royal baby baby cooking recap royal clothing social trends bureau sector wide students renter of the future teach learning styles home owner fresh Generation Y eliane car statistics pharmacy financial independence technology events income qualitative research survey design earn media South Australia the hills shire cancelling event brand holidays dreaming non profit wage WA investment teachers financial fears waverton princess charlotte sydney metro kate middleton new york times newspaper Channel 7 business cold Tasmania tips suburban living proactive weekly earnings post rationalism staying in norwest research visualisation 2016 skills 24 million area hello fresh millionth annual income social research organisational culture office goals communication environmental scanning house price stay home winter baby names report Valentine’s Day HSC video Wellington collaboration rich in the media social enquiry Queensland TAS social impact define education future Netflix households crime resource GPO woolworths focus groups rule keeper youth speakers Do It Yourself Australian Trends NT land of the middle class energy baby boom socialites communities medicine Christchurch litter emerging trends data analyst follow careers travelling house price rise typical australian pyrmont easter young australians equip Love authenticity owning a home hills shire conference speaker national private wealth local Wagga Wagga social change Australia Day house prices the hills Tuesday Trends consumer neutral bay sports friends Caregiver future data visualisation data father's day dream rental stress results supply and demand keynote speaker marriage 2016 census Res Vis urban living index house faux-ciliser educhat media release residents gender panel overcast presentation hopes 2015 marketing engagement bondi Population Clock social issues Hornsby Shire Council communications demographic transformations event futurist 10 years Australian Bureau of Statistics life school satisfaction weather focus group child care identity intern workplace culture celebration housing growth gold coast contiki population map Assistant Store Manager marrickville the changing face of Crime Rates blaxland unemployment crows nest cancel plans presentations motivate dessert Sydney conference presentation bus spend tv property price pharmacies thought leadership FPA storytelling nfp office opening innovative generation keynote Engineering Manager Channel Seven Australian Dream stats gen alpha Kirsten Brewer christianity DIY etiquette offenders entrepreneur housing cloudy days summer high density living online program insight 24,000,000 mover and shaker cultural diversity Australia Day 2017 challenge baby name trends internet 2016 census results food moreton bay sunny days Real Estate Research Executive education future report employment survey apartment wolloomooloo optus my business awards healthy future visualisation living EFF demographer cars trends analyst generation alpha community engagement high density researcher winter blues mythbusters lifestyle Melbourne economy ACF transport culture group session leadership divorce rate rise of local education sector entrepreneurial education research Northern Beaches Christian School teleworking housing trends innovation shopping sentiments rain 2014 2017 baby names australia report population growth online shopping geomapping Christmas season professional development huffington post relational digital trends Generation X domestic safe sunburnt country easy rider public speaker resilience high density apartments ashley mckenzie population increasing densification global aged care puzzle state census fail Queensland: QLD royal influence education daily commute social researcher future of education faux-cilise paying to work home ownership social media ageing population Australian Census global generations Sydney keynote speaker teaching changing face of sydney brands public holiday emerging technologies Northern beaches Event demographic suburb optimistic school students English cash property women 1994 curiosity Merry Christmas family Gen X Christmas presents market research Australian communities Myth rent perth not-for-profit know the times tea ABS consumerism Geoff Brailey finance victoria demographic trends learn employers urban living baby boomers year 7 educated megatrends year 12 budget anzac capital cities social life going out sydney speaker acf15 wealth and income distribution financial dreams christmas hobart forecasting unaffordable Word Up global financial crisis wealth distribution cartodb australia sector wide study IT Specialists sun Australian Communities Trends commute graphs shbc ease of travel outsourcing census divorce #censusfail toys personalities the average aussie young people sustainable Western Australia research pack personal growth daily telegraph engage repayments relevant society trends housing market twentyseventeen socialising study prince george New Zeland aged care research data ACT plans brisbane media activity PSI sydneycity australian communities forum Australians generational trends millenials Canberra forum social analysis government high school JOMO media commentary trends of 2016 menai tattoos society earnings buildings baby name predictions meals future-proof organisations google for education Australian Home 1968 Christmas lunch interactive real jobs tertiary education investor world youth day tuesday small business Education Future Forum commuters conference mccrindle tea research salary religion staff McCrindle Speakers demographics public speaking Tuesday Trend infographic world volunteers internship culturally diverse language dare to dream community internships christian vegetarian conferences potts point Aussies population milestone change future proof Australian Families January 26th 2013 friendship affordable monarchy children customer New Zealand logan happiness trend tuesday new office workplace workshop darwin Royals middle class wealth and income local communities poker master the australian dream cancelling plans city thrive work mates entrepreneurs of today trends of 2017 youth unemployment holiday research services national crime rates training rising house prices Bathburst Social Trend office space quote parenting The Daily Edition water growth economic in depth interviews builders CBD poor social lives selfie award list DESTEL click church news snapshot mining boom social cost sydneysiders schools growing population alpha work-life Duchess of Cambridge responsive affordability ashley fell student World Water Day social commentary omnibus property market 40 million fears charity millennials wellbeing royal family SMSF shifts leader Deaths 1980 generation Z social researchers Scouts wages participants facts urban forecast mateship vegemite Territory Financial Planning Association of Australia Births narcissism census 2016 not for profit mortgage learner university optus work collaborative leadership workshop ipswich Real Estate Institute of Victoria Northern Beaches social commentator ferry REIV Conference mobile generations professional australian social research The ABC of XYZ parents national wealth retirement states home environment gen z couple entertainment Charlotte trend university degree learning mentor Australian demographics train mother's day average aussie 2020 shopper's pick