Preparing people for the jobs of the future

Thu May 23 14:31:00 UTC 2019

How we define occupations is no longer fixed and new jobs are emerging at a quicker rate than ever before - largely due to the impact of technology. Now more than ever, employers are addressing the impact of technology on the jobs that make up their workforce. This need to ‘redesign occupations’ is one of the key implications that came out of Pearson’s Future of Skills: Employment in 2030 research study.

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The Future of Skills research study

Much of the current conversation about the future of work revolves around fears of technology making workers obsolete. What’s more, how we define occupations is no longer fixed and new jobs are emerging at a quicker rate than ever before - largely due to the impact of technology. We wanted to take a step back and take a deeper look at what’s happening with jobs and work. That’s why Pearson decided to work with Nesta and the Oxford Martin School, to build a research project that moves the conversation about the future of work past simplified scaremongering about automation.

Through our research we’ve found that the future of work is brighter than conventional wisdom suggests. The upshot is that many jobs we recognize today will still be in demand by 2030 and beyond. However, the job you have today may require different skills for success tomorrow.

Key implications for employers

The study identified two key implications for employers to consider in order to address future uncertainty for their workforce:

  • Redesigning roles to balance technology and human resources. This is about technology supplementing uniquely human skills, rather than taking jobs away from people, and it makes identifying the occupations that require redesigning to integrate supplementary technology a vital step for employers.
  • Moving beyond a degree as the primary signal of employability. As education systems begin to offer more flexible and adaptive pathways for learners, employers will also need to learn to be able to identify and develop talent without relying on degrees as a guarantee of work readiness.

Why Pearson champions apprenticeships

The key implications for employers have significant resonance with the opportunities provided by apprenticeships. Flexible and adaptive pathways that deliver skills will be ever more important in an increasingly uncertain future, where major political, economic and technological forces mean we don’t know what the long-term outlook is for jobs and business in the UK. Apprenticeships provide an ‘adaptive pathway’ that allow employers to lead on developing talent pool that has the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours required of productive employees-now and in the future.

As an employer of more than 100 apprentices, and who understands the value of investing in the development of well-trained talent pool, this is one of our key drivers for working with employers to embed apprenticeships in their workforce development planning.

Visit our apprenticeships website for more information

Key implications for individuals


One thing that is clear from the research is that the pace of change will continue to accelerate, which has some key implications for individuals.

  • Develop skills that are uniquely human. Although the advance of automation and artificial intelligence may feel like a losing battle to some, individuals will need to focus on developing the uniquely human skills identified in this research, such as originality, fluency of ideas, and active listening.
  • Embracing lifelong learning and reskilling. The pace of economic change all but guarantees that a single degree started in your teens or a career picked in your 20s will not be everlasting.

Discover the skills you’ll need to be successful in 2030.

Based on the research findings we have developed an online tool which tells you the skills you'll need for a successful career in 2030. Find out how the skills you'll need for one career compare to the skills needs of other professions.

Visit the online tool to discover the skills you'll need in 2030

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