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The myth of ‘jobs that don’t exist yet’

An interesting and slightly bewildering idea, but where does it come from?

You may have heard already that many students who are currently at primary school age will be applying for jobs in the future that do not yet exist. An interesting and slightly bewildering idea, but where does it come from?

‘Statistics Show…’

Dell Technologies and the IFF (Institute for the Future) recently released a report which claimed that American grade school children were going to be applying for jobs in 2030 that currently are not in existence – jobs that we cannot yet wrap our heads around.

The report was aiming to explain that current modes of education are outdated and focussing on the entirely wrong areas of knowledge for the job roles that these young people will be setting their sights on. In fact, according to Dell Technologies and the IFF, approximately 85% of jobs that today’s students will be applying for in 2030 have not been invented. That’s a high percentage!

The report implies that schools are not doing its pupils justice by failing to prepare them adequately for the working world. Major upheaval is required to shake up the education system and give our children the best skill sets for their future.

But 2030 is only another 12 years away. Where are they getting their facts from?

Fake News

The Institute for the Future’s Rachel Maguire (the Research Director) stated that she could not comment on the citation and that this ‘statistic’ was used during one of their workshops.

This report refers to a ‘famous prediction’ made regarding young pupils in 1999 – 65% of these children were also due to be applying for non-existent jobs at the time. However, when the report cites its source for this prediction, it lists a US Department of Labor Report from 1999 which predicts no such thing. The 1999 report actually discusses the opposite, saying that there will be modern jobs created in future but also that the jobs of the time will remain.

Dell’s research on this report seems somewhat lacking, but they are not the only ones to misquote this particular statistic. PBS, the American television network, publicised these inaccurate ‘findings’ on their news show. Perhaps they should have done some further research themselves.

Unfortunately, by producing misinformation on the subject, media outlets are doing more damage than good when it comes to educational reform and the future of work. In general, colleges and schools are making positive waves with their students. Establishments have to invest in the foundational building blocks of their students’ education – such as communication studies, art and creativity and critical reading – as there is solid proof that these skills truly are irreplaceable.


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