There is a lot of anxiety about the future of work; some even question whether work will exist for many of us in the future. A recent report from Deloitte Australia, The Path to Prosperity: The Future of Work is Human, a part of Deloitte’s Insight series, Building the Lucky Country #7 relieves some of these anxieties.

As a school principal I have an ongoing need to stay abreast of developments and consider the future as best as possible. The children in the Prep classes of The Knox School will turn six this year and complete Year 12 in 2031. We position our students for future success and thus must consider the skills, knowledge and attitudes they need to develop as they step beyond school. Building skills and attitudes takes time and is best started young. Therefore, I am interested in what Deloitte and others have to say.

The Deloitte report makes clear that while jobs are changing in nature due to artificial intelligence and robots, they will not disappear.

Where technologies affect jobs, they generally create as many jobs as they kill. The jobs that are killed are easily spotted; those created are often hiding in plain sight. For every problem we face there is a job in solving that problem and as the media so wonderfully explain to us, we are not short of problems as a city, country or as a planet.

The key message from the report is simple!  The future of work is human!

Work is changing rapidly! Routine jobs are disappearing through automation but less routine jobs are difficult to automate.  Jobs are moving from hands to heads to hearts!

What is meant by work of the heart? These jobs require strong interpersonal and creative skills and will be the hardest to mechanise.

Deloitte estimates that 86% of the jobs created by 2030 will be knowledge worker roles. 25% of all jobs will be professional type roles by 2030. Most of these roles will be in business services, health, education and engineering.

Even aside from professional roles, two thirds of all jobs will require what are called soft skills by 2030.

Work of the head and the heart require a wide range of skills. For example, 96% of jobs in Australia now require time management and organisational kills and 97% need customer or client relationship skills. 70% require strong verbal communication skills. There is a significant shortage of people with digital literacy skills but this is dwarfed by those needing customer or client relationship skills.

The rate of change is accelerating, Deloitte reports. Parents and schools need to get ahead of the game in preparing their children for this future, which can be rewarding and prosperous for those with the right skill sets and attitudes.

I will finish with a quote from the report.

With the future of work more human than ever, organisations have a responsibility to build community trust. (Page iv)


Deloitte Australia. 2019. The Path to Prosperity: The Future of Work is Human, Insight Series, Building the Lucky Country #7.