How to Prepare Your Kids for Jobs that Don’t Exist Yet

Jobs That Don't Exist Yet

According to Cathy Davidson, 65 percent of today’s kids may end up doing work that hasn’t been invented yet. This begs the question: as a parent, how do you prepare your child for a career that doesn’t exist?

By failing to answer this question, your child risks being left behind. Jeffrey Selingo (The Chronicle of Higher Education) states that students are at risk of being “ill prepared for the creative forces that will define the global economy in the future.” We are already aware of several changes that are reshaping our economy: the rise of technology, the ageing of the population and environmental and climate concerns are just a few examples. Organisations are trying to change to accommodate these shifts, and unemployment is rising in the ensuing shifts.

Another concern, unfortunately, is that our education system is not quick enough to respond to these changes.  Karl Fisch (Huffington Post) summarizes the problem as follows:  “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”

As a parent who is aware of this change and uncertainty, you need to help prepare your child for a bright future by helping them make these three shifts:

1. Forget About Jobs and Careers; Look for Challenges to Solve.

Today’s jobs and careers are on a collison course with a new world order. While the jobs, careers and approaches we take might change, the challenges that we are trying to solve will remain. In fact, as our perspective on certain issues evolves, new challenges to tackle will emerge as well. Of course, the jobs and careers that address these challenges might look completely different from what we see now. Accordingly, students need to shift from focussing on jobs and careers and instead focus on challenges they want to solve.

2. New Expectations for a New World: Welcome to the 21st Century Workplace

New challenges will require new tactics and strategies. 21st century organizations are building 21st century workplaces, which will require 21st century skills. These companies will need self-starters who can learn continuously and lead others in the process. Today’s students need to understand that the rules of work have changed, and that their skill sets will need to align with new expectations.

3. Know Thyself: Leverage Self-awareness

In order to make an impact in the workplace, the workers of the future need to cultivate their self-awareness. Thankfully, self-awareness can be developed. Psychometrics, guided self-reflection and the gathering and leveraging of feedback from peers can all help develop a self-aware, grounded, future leader. The process of reflecting on values, strengths, personality and interests will build career anchors that help ground, focus and accelerate students during their career trajectory. Through this increased self-awareness, students will be better able to weather changes in their environment, align themselves with causes they care about and understand how they can make meaningful contributions to the workplace.

Preparing your kids for work that doesn’t exist yet may seem like a daunting task a first, but by helping them make these three shifts you are setting up them up to start their careers successfully.


  1. Wayne Pagani says:

    Well said, JP … no doubt as the world changes there is a greater need for us to shift our paradigms … as Daniel Pink explains in A Whole New Mind there is a definite advantage for those who engage the entire spectrum of their aptitudes and strengths in future oriented world of work … self-awareness and discovery are undoubtedly important for every generation, however it’s today’s youth who will become our future leaders…

  2. Sia says:

    It’s simple: Create people who are life-long unlearners, lifelong learners and lifelong relearners – all in the same individual.

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