This is a perennial question we get asked by parents around the globe and whilst the answers will change a little due to location, language and visa requirements the best advice we can give is to follow the global skills shortages and recognise that technology has and will continue to change all our lives.
If a function can be automated in a cost effective manner then it will be as this makes economic sense so the drudgery associated with the jobs of the past will be slowly eliminated as employers will seek employees that can add value at a social or economic level.
The 5 big global skills shortages that will be felt in all markets around the world at different times and in different ways are:
Education: As much as the developed world has screwed up its education by churning out people that industry does not want other markets are investing very heavily especially the Middle East and China where the hunt is on for ESL teachers as never before but for countries like Saudi Arabia that is untroubled by equality legislation we are seeing changes in that the main requirement these days is for the ladies for staffing up the new female only university called PNU
Engineering: Throughout the global recession Engineers have remained in demand but the skills shortages emerging now were masked by the downturn particularly in Europe and the USA. All markets go through cycles and Engineering skills became an issue in Germany in 2010 and both the UK and USA are bemoaning the skills shortage but are doing precious little to address it with practical solutions.
Healthcare: We see demand everywhere. Australia for example has critical shortages in nursing and dentistry. The Western Australian government is paying a A$1000 bounty just to interview doctors! However, getting in is a long winded process and many prefer the Middle East which is a quicker route but unpredictable in terms of demand as the Arab culture is to leave everything to the last moment so candidates need to be prepared and rightly or wrongly it is often the best prepared candidate rather than the best qualified candidate that get the job.
IT: We all know it stands for Information Technology but it is such a wide field that a detailed Job Description is absolutely vital. As 86% of employers approaching us have no or wholly inadequate job descriptions.
Natural resources: This is a catch all for utilities as well as oil and gas and includes green energy and recycling. Again demand is driven by the economic cycle and political considerations and the cheque books of the employers. We saw Australia dominating the markets as they recruited heavily in Europe in 2009-2011 but is now facing still competition for talent from elsewhere with Canada being particularly active. You do need strong trade skills to succeed in this market and the kids need to get experience elsewhere before tackling it. Welding, pipework, plumbing, CNC operators, electricians , boiler makers are needed alongside the support staff from geologists to the chefs and cleaners.
In addition to these sectors we are seeing two potential new global skills shortages emerging. Our sister company ERA discusses the aviation market the other market is Chefs. Australia is critically short but the international competition is intense. It is not just the top restaurants that are on the hunt but also international groups of hotels and the cruise lines. For kids that want to travel culinary skills could be the new passport to an international career but you need to put the hard yards in first as you do with most jobs.
Hopefully this will help to direct the readers but as a parent of two teenagers they are inheriting a world not of their making and need all the help and encouragement we can give them.
Author: Chris Slay
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