Priority 3

Transforming careers support for young people

Young people graduating now are likely to work in 17 different jobs across 5 careers, through a working life of 60 to 70 years.

To a significant extent, the jobs they will do have either not been invented yet, the content of existing jobs will evolve dramatically, and the skills required will change constantly – the “half-life” of skills is now estimated at 5 years. People will work in a variety of different contexts – as employees, contractors, independent producers, entrepreneurs – and the burden will be on them to constantly renew and deepen their skills - through formal education, on-the-job experience or otherwise.

In this context, asking our young people what they want to be when they grow up makes very little sense. Yet, this focus on “jobs” – lawyer, social worker, builder – is still the way schools, tertiaries and parents talk to young people about their futures and try to support them to make choices.

We urgently need to transform careers support for young people in NZ. We need to provide young people with accurate information about and exposure to where future jobs will exist and the skills to craft and navigate multiple careers over a lifetime. We need to shift our focus from “jobs” to “skills”, and to help young people understand the job clusters where their skills and aptitudes might fit, the skills that are important in these clusters and how they might go about developing them, and how they could navigate a career by continuing to build and evolve skills over time. 

Globalization concept

Understanding New Zealand's New Work Order

We need to build a transformed approach to careers support on a deep, data-driven and constantly updated understanding of what jobs exist now in NZ and are likely to exist in the future, and what skills employers want or will want for those jobs.

The 21C Skills Lab is working to bring together a coalition of public and private partners to analyse hundreds of thousands of New Zealand job ads over the last few years to reveal the new job clusters in the NZ economy, identifying the skills and capabilities that will be most portable and in demand going forward, using the research approach taken in the world-leading Foundation for Young Australians New Work Order series.

This New Zealand research, able to be updated on a regular basis, will be a critical foundation for a new strategic approach to supporting young people to thrive in 21C careers.