News that’ll excite, terrify or, most likely, make you draw for this emoji 🤔: According to a professor at a Spanish university, a massive 80% of the jobs that will exist in the year 2025 don’t currently exist in 2017.
Professor Martin Boehm of the IE Business School in Madrid said there would be “significant changes to the labour market” in the near future. He also urged that the style and end product of university education would have to change to accommodate. “We have to prepare our students and graduates for a world that’s essentially not possible to prepare them for,” he told Times Higher Education.
“That’s clearly going to be a challenge, and it has implications for the pedagogical approach: what are we actually going to teach in our programmes?”
I don’t know why Professor Boehm is asking us like we’re supposed to know, but he does raise a good point. If the stat he’s throwing out in his interview – the stat that comprises this headline – is to be believed, higher education has a hell of an overhaul on its hands. With the world changing at a rate of knots and technology getting more pervasive by the day, it’s no wonder that the labour market will be almost completely unrecognisable. But what should you be trying to learn in the meantime to prepare for jobs that don’t even exist? Here are a few suggestions, courtesy of Professor Boehm:
Anything widely applicable
First off, Boehm recommends taking time to learn “fundamental competencies and skills” that will be “relevant no matter what kind of job students aspire to”. Specialisation is cool and all but since we don’t know exactly what we’re looking for in 2025, you want to make yourself as marketable as possible.
I mean, of course, we’re always gonna need doctors, lawyers, engineers etc. But if that’s not you, be sure to develop more than the transferable skills you get from. A good place to start is this neat article we wrote about adding digital skills to your CV. Because soon, it won’t be geeky to know how to code; it’ll be vital.
Intrapersonal and interpersonal skills
These aren’t just an added bonus any more. Employers are seeking out people with skills such as self-awareness and mindfulness, communication and teamwork in droves. It just goes to show that it’s not just about what you do at work, but how you do it. People who facilitate progress at work by practising empathy and collaboration, even at times where you may not necessarily agree with your co-workers, are valued no matter what industry they end up in.
Differing points of view
And speaking of disagreements… You may have heard of the social media echo chamber, the magical place where everybody shares your views and reassures your opinions. Well, too much of that can breed an imbalanced view of the world, at least according to Professor Boehm.
“You have an opinion; and because filters only allow you to be exposed to the same ideas, your opinion and ideas [are] constantly confirmed,” he said. “Consequently, you as an individual become more narrow-minded. By being challenged, you have the ability to develop by, perhaps, changing your ideas or amplifying them.”
You can catch that development by reading and listening a little wider than you normally would. Download podcasts, go to talks – and if you’re really keen, organise your own and invite people you wouldn’t normally associate with. You’d be surprised how far you can expand each other’s minds.
So there you have it, there’ll soon be a whole lot of futuristic jobs and universities may have a ton of catching up to do to stay in the loop. But that’s not to say there aren’t things you can do in the meantime. Pre-empt the future and take the initiative. After all; the more you know, the further you’ll go.