Today’s work could be obsolete tomorrow

MANY of today’s jobs will be obsolete in twenty years’ time, according to research by the WA Department of Training.

Half of today’s work roles did not exist thirty-five years ago.

WADT Employment Initiatives director Larry Davies said the human development industry would become the single biggest sector in the future.

“Knowledge-based industries are an area where there will be significant job growth now and in the future,” Mr Davies said.

“Bio-technology, information manipulation, web-page developers, animators and anything to do with virtual reality will grow.

“A very large proportion of all new jobs will be created through households as a massive pool of household activities are converted into new industries.”

The research revealed new part-time jobs were being created at a much faster rate than new full-time positions.

Of the sectors expecting job growth to the year 2000, 70 per cent are likely to occur in accommodation, cafes and restaurants, property and business services, wholesale and retail, construction, and health and community services sectors. These industries are most likely to generate part-time jobs.

Mr Davies said people would have to earn a living from a variety of sources and change the way they approached work.

“For example, a person might be perfectly happy to only work three days a week for casual contract rates so that they may pursue other interests,” Mr Davies said.

“Casual rates mean they might make as much money in three days as they would in a five day full-time job.”

The research revealed people were likely to have three or four career changes in a lifetime – not just job changes. The average American works for eleven different organisations in a lifetime; the average Japanese for eight.

Careers of the future will be based on the values of mobility, spontaneity, improvisation, self-reliance and enterprise.

Work will become increasingly project-based, with 25 per cent of all Australians working from home by 2010. It seems jobs for life no longer exist.

Recruitment and Consulting Services Association president Geoff Slade said: “Gone are the days when employers viewed frequent changes of jobs as a reflection of a prospective employee’s stability”.

University of WA organisational behaviour and leadership senior lecturer Nick Forster said downsizing would continue unabated, as would merger mania, with the oil industry particularly affected by the latter.

“The idea of organic internal growth has been abandoned,” he said. “Companies are finding it easier to take another group over and absorb them.”

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