Career Pathways

While your child’s school will have a career education program to help your child make career decisions, research shows that children look to their parents first when they want career advice. However, in the future some jobs will no longer exist, new jobs will be created and most jobs will undergo some form of transformation. A job for life is no longer a reality, and young people now are likely to experience at least five major career changes in their life, and more fluid ways of working, like casual, contract and part-time work options. So how can young Australians plan for these changes when the skills needed for work are changing, and how can parents support them?

This collection of articles is intended to help parents support their children with career pathways.

If you would like to read more about the jobs of the future, which industries show growth, and skills and experiences young people can acquire now to accelerate their transition from education to full-time work, see the ‘In the Media’ section (below), which summarises several recently published articles.

Talk to your child about their career

This article from the Victorian Department of Education explains that the concept of a job for life is no longer a reality—young people now are likely to experience five to eight major career changes in their life, and will have more fluid ways of working. So, given this context, what is involved in making the best career choices? (Tip: Knowing your interests, abilities and values, and understanding the world of work and available options/jobs.) This article gives tips on what to keep in mind when talking about careers with your child, and suggests questions to ask your child from the time they are in Years 8–9 through to Year 12 and beyond.

Below we have summarised a handful of helpful articles for parents—with thanks to myfuture, Australia’s National Career Information Service:

Having to make decisions based on knowing who they are and what they want to achieve in life starts for our children with subject selection, elective choices and vocational study opportunities. If you support your child to choose subjects they are good at, interested in and can see themselves using in the future (e.g. to get into a particular course), they are likely to achieve good results in their final years of school. The subjects they choose should be able to deliver the broadest range of choices for further education and training and for meeting employer expectations.

Helping your child consider future occupations begins the career planning process. However, the types and number of jobs available continue to change, and this means some job aspirations of your child may not align with jobs available in the future: ‘This could have consequences for them if they invest in training for jobs that may not be available.’ This mismatch between job aspirations and future opportunities means transferable skills that help job seekers find employment will become increasingly important in helping your child navigate the changing world of work.

If your child isn’t engaged in thinking about their career, you can try various strategies including talking about your career or encouraging your child to talk to other adults about their careers. Other strategies include encouraging your child to participate in work experience programs or activities at home, school or in the community; and supporting them to seek a part-time job if they are ready.

Other areas where you can provide practical support include self-awareness for career decision making (i.e. understanding interests, abilities, values and personal or context factors that may influence future career choices), opportunity awareness (i.e. identifying and exploring opportunities such as course and career options), decision making, and transition support to help your child manage both current and future transitions.

In the Media

To find out more about the jobs of the future, which industries show growth, and skills and experiences young people can acquire now to accelerate their transition from education to full-time work, see these recently published articles:

Published on both the Conversation and ABC News on 20 February 2019, this article discusses how in the future some jobs will no longer exist, new jobs will be created and most jobs will undergo some form of transformation, and how young Australians can plan for these changes. Drawing upon employment projections from the Department of Jobs and Small Business and research from the Foundation for Young Australians, the article explores jobs of the future, which industries show growth, and skills and experiences young people can acquire now to accelerate their transition from education to full-time work.

Over the next five years, which four sectors are set to dominate employment, and which will be the most ‘future-proof’ jobs? Also, which industries are set to decline by 2023? Published in The New Daily on 1 February 2019, this article draws upon data from the Department of Jobs and Small Business and new analysis by Sydney-based firm McCrindle to answer these questions and offer suggestions on how to ‘future proof’ your career.

One suggestion is to choose a job in one of the sectors tipped to grow over the next five years. Also, if you are keen to protect your livelihood from the threat of automation, choose a job where humans aren’t in danger of being replaced by robots; for example, jobs relying on people skills, creativity, and which require advanced decision-making. Thirdly, invest in transferable skills such as communication skills and management and leadership.

According to social analyst Mark McCrindle, ‘It is prudent for young people and their parents to take these projections into account as they plan school and university subjects and career paths. The advice to “just follow your passion” could be enhanced by looking at what jobs are experiencing growth trends to line up one’s passion with reality.’

The types of jobs 7–11 year olds are choosing are similar to those of 17–18 year olds, according to new analysis by UK charity Education and Employers—see World Economic Forum article from 22 January 2019. Culture, media and sport occupations were the top choices of job types, according to the analysis that examined the career aspirations of young people in the UK and mapped these against projected labour market demand. The narrow spectrum of aspirations was described as ‘particularly worrying since previous research has shown that there is statistically “nothing in common” between teenagers’ career ambitions and projected labour market demand.’

The author, CEO of Education and Employers, noted that teenagers’ aspirations often do not match up with their knowledge and expectation of the level of education needed. ‘Commonly, young people are unable to understand the breadth of ultimate job opportunities across the economy, leading them to potentially identify unrealistic career aspirations.’ He referred to previous research that suggested that teenagers who underestimate the qualifications needed for their desired profession are more likely to be unemployed in their early 20s. ‘We now know that this mismatch is set at a young age and heavily influenced by socio-economic background, gender and the role models seen by children.’

So, given that gender stereotyping about jobs starts at a young age and is a global phenomenon, how can we open our children’s eyes to an amazing world of possibilities? One way is to enable children to meet a range of people and have the opportunity to ask them questions about their jobs and career routes. ‘This kind of interaction between volunteers from the world of work, and young people, helps increase motivation, raises awareness about different jobs and the skills needed, and challenges stereotypes.’