Are you ready for 17 jobs and five careers over your lifetime? A young person entering the workforce is set to have a portfolio career of 17 jobs across five careers in their lifetime (Foundation for Young Australians, 2017). In addition, research suggests that although education and training are essential, experience and employability skills will be crucial to career success and the critical needs of employers in the future (National Careers Institute

[NCI], 2022). No matter your life stage or career stage, whether you’ve yet to start work, are already in work, out of work or ready to transition into new work, understanding these key areas and leveraging them is of critical importance:

  • Education & training – job outcomes and income are linked with higher levels of educational attainment, with employers looking for people who are highly educated and skilled to match the increasingly complex nature of work (Abuselidze & Zoidze, 2023). It is also estimated that 6 out of 10 workers will require more training by 2027 (World Economic Forum [WEF], 2023). That said, there are notable exceptions. For example, in the ‘gig economy’, educational attainment is not linked to hourly rates but to positive work ratings and experience (Herrmann et al., 2023).
  • Experience & employability skills – 64% of employers require applicants to have experience, although 36% will consider applicants without it (NCI, 2022). A key aspect of experience is that non-academic skills, independent of context, are included in a lifelong learning approach (OECD, 2019). These skills, described as employability skills, are generally transferable skills that are important to employers in the future world of work (Ferreira et al., 2023). The top employability skills for the future include analytical thinking, creative thinking, resilience, flexibility and agility, motivation and self-awareness, curiosity and life-long learning, technological literacy, dependability and attention to detail, empathy and active listening, leadership and social influence and quality control (WEF, 2023).

So, are you ready for 17 jobs and five careers over your lifetime? Four key recommendations:

  1. You need a life-long career development approach that starts at school and continues beyond retirement (Patton & McMahon, 2014).
  2. You should stay abreast of the changes in the future world of work to adapt and prepare for the change.
  3. You should work on relevant education, training, and future employability based on your short-, medium– and long-term career goals.
  4. You should build experience that develops employability skills relevant to existing and future employers.

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