Design thinking, financial acumen and emotional intelligence among skills in high demand in the workforce of the future. But will our kids cut the grade?

Over the coming decade, Australia’s education, skills and job markets will rapidly transform and one in two Australians believe our children are not equipped with the skills needed for these changes, according to a new report from Commonwealth Bank.

The Commonwealth Bank Jobs and Skills of the Future Report, released today, uncovers the next stage of digital disruption and new job types that will emerge as a result of these changes. Authored by futurist Ross Dawson, the report details how advances in data analytics and artificial intelligence are driving the formation of new education methods, skills and capabilities.

Ross Dawson, futurist and author, says: “As a result of our desire to become more digitally connected, we will continue to experience social shifts, generating a multitude of opportunities for those who are keen to create value from these new connections.

“With connectivity enabling digital disruption, almost any task can be performed anywhere in the world. In order to keep ahead and find new opportunities in this time of change, it’s important that we develop the uniquely human capabilities – adaptability, creativity and relationship skills – that set us apart from machines.”

The report identifies a number of capabilities and skills that Australians will need in the future workforce including design thinking, analysis, financial acumen and relationship building.

Kylie Macfarlane, General Manager Corporate Responsibility, Commonwealth Bank, says: “As one of Australia’s largest employers, we’re already seeing the introduction of new skills and capabilities – there are jobs at Commonwealth Bank today that didn’t exist five years ago.

“For children, school leavers and their parents, trying to navigate the changing landscape can be daunting but it also presents an opportunity for Australians to learn different skills and enter new career pathways. “The changing job market means education has to and is changing to keep up, and that’s why we are investing heavily in partnerships and programs with education providers to make sure our young people are prepared for the future, both in a financial and skill sense.”

Highlights from the Commonwealth Bank Jobs and Skills of the Future Report 2 | Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Evolving education – how the classroom is set to change

Subject areas of robotics and coding are just two examples of how the education landscape is already changing to meet the demands of the future. Other changes we can expect to see are more flexible classrooms and new learning spaces as educators become more nimble; adopting a range of new methods to teach in classrooms including, writable desks, robots and AI.

Adapting human skills and capabilities – how demand will continue to change

As technology becomes an increasing part of everyday life, people will need to focus on the human capabilities that set us apart from machines – such as creativity, imagination, emotional intelligence and design thinking.

Jobs of the future – how the workplace will change

Over the next decade, technology will advance and people will learn to enhance their ability to interact with it. Emergent technology jobs will include new categories such as emotional experience experts – highly empathetic people and advanced technologies will work closely together to design and deliver services and experiences that are not just effective, but emotionally engaging.

About Commonwealth Bank’s Jobs and Skills of the Future Report

Commonwealth Bank’s Jobs and Skills of the Future Report was commissioned by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in collaboration with futurist Ross Dawson, to explore the changes in jobs, skilling and education in Australia.

The report combines current Commonwealth Bank data with expert local and global knowledge to identify trends shaping the Australian education, skilling and job markets over the next 15 years.

Are you concerned for your child’s career prospects?

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  • When leaving school, a reasonably high % of pupils now go to uni or tafe so they don’t need to learn how to apply for a job at that time. I was taught the basics of writing a letter but not the cv part of it. Most jobs now require experience. Not many seem to offer training to the extent that they used to. Unless you do a placement (orginally called work experience) while still at high school you have no experience so how do you get any if nobody gives you a start.


  • I think the education in the high schools of late needs a desperate update with regards to teens entering the work force. I had to teach my daughter about doing a cover letter when applying for jobs. Apparently she was never taught this , and when applying on line for jobs it takes away the hand writing skills as well. Big changes are coming for sure, but parents seem jto bbe the ones educating in this department.


  • I definitely agree- I see my niece and nephews and they can’t function without a screen in front of them. I think the increase in the use of technology is affecting our ability to be able to communicate properly and that in turn is going to affect our prospects of getting jobs in the future. Scary times.


  • I think our children are more prepared than we give them credit for. The institution of education may be a fickle beast that is slow to respond but our children are the opposite. They have grown into a world of constant change and adapt easily to changes in technology and lifestyle. Yes, there are lots of unknowns about the impact this will have on then socially and psychologically into the future and what it will mean for household structures into the future. I think, however, when it comes to employment, the ease of adaptation will hold them all in good stead.


  • No – I am not concerned – there are always jobs and these days everyone just needs to diversify and will have multiple and varied jobs.


  • As parents we just do the best we can to prepare our kids for life as an adult.


  • No, I’m not concerned for my children’s career prospect. I suspect education will change with the changes in work place and expectations. And career / having a job is part of life, but not most important really.


  • It’s not education that’s the problem. It is the somewhat more lazy attitude of the new workforce. They expect to start higher up on the corporate ladder with less effort.


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