Children who started secondary school this year could be working till they are 100, with 40 different jobs, a conference of headteachers has been told.
Rohit Talwar, chief executive of Fast Futures – which advices schools and businesses on planning for the future, told headteachers at St Andrews University in Scotland that these children could also have a good expectation of living until they are 120.
However Talwar warned that with the advance of new technology there would be fewer jobs due to robots, potentially increasing unemployment to up to 50 per cent.
Estimates from the conference suggested that between 30 and 80 per cent of all jobs available today will disappear within 30 years.
Talwar told the audience: “Will it be natural for 50 per cent of the population not to be working? And what happens to society if 50 per cent of the people don’t have jobs?
“What are you preparing your children for? They might well have 40 jobs in that period between now and when they stop working – and as many as 10 different careers.”
He added that government might have to look to policies such as those in Utrecht and Namibia where a “superdole” has been introduced – with a guarantee of a minimum amount of earnings for everyone.
Mr Talwar also suggested that the world’s biggest companies were planning to downsize their workforce in the next few years, and growth industries were also planning for a future where few people would be employed.
The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference was told that students should be taught to prepare themselves for a range of activities that would not be replaced by robots – such as care assistants and volunteering, as well as the way they taught their children.
Mr Talwar also advocated teaching them meditation skills to help them relax and prepare for working well into old age. “Just 15 minutes a day when you shut yourself away – it can lead to longer life and better marriages,” he added.
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