Why you need to talk to your teen about career planning

Four friends posing for a photo

Is your teenager ready for the realities of career planning? Do you know what’s in store for the future workforce?

Remember when career planning was equated with getting a job and climbing a ladder? The ladder has turned into a spiral staircase.

Today’s students face many opportunities and potential pitfalls in their future careers. Having realistic conversations while your child is still in high school is a good start to ensuring they find satisfying jobs and fruitful careers.

The risk to traditional career planning

According to The New Work Order, a report published by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA), the current workplace is quickly becoming unfriendly to young people. It points to the rise of automation as one of the more alarming issues facing our children:

  • 70 per cent of young people entering the workforce are “in jobs that will be radically affected by automation”
  • 60 per cent of students are being trained in jobs that will be changed by automation
  • entry-level roles for young people are disappearing.

The FYA report clearly shows a drop in opportunity for unskilled workers and a burgeoning demand for digital literacy. Leaving high school with no qualifications and expecting to earn a living is quickly becoming a pipedream. Attending uni to gain those crucial skills connected to automation and technology is becoming essential regardless of the field of study or chosen profession.

New considerations for career planning

The future of work for today’s high school student is impacted by:

  • automation – machines are already doing a lot of human tasks and this is expanding every day,
  • globalisation – the internet provides global opportunity – and global competition,
  • collaboration – not only will our children have many jobs throughout their careers, they’re likely to have many employers at the same time.

Carving out a new way to work

High school is the right time to prepare your children to start thinking freely about career opportunities. They’ll benefit from lower barriers to entry and won’t have to deal with rigid rules about advancement and corporate politics the way past generations did. There are more entrepreneurial opportunities allowing young people to follow their interests and pursue careers they define for themselves. This is a prime opportunity to start a conversation with your child about what’s possible. Encourage them to dream about their potential and the contributions they can make.

Mitigating risk in an uncertain careers market

While university is a good start, it’s not the guarantee of success it once was. Parents and students need to make savvy decisions, especially in light of the risks present in the current economy which, according to the FYA report, are only going to get worse.

  • Unemployment – One in three young people in Australia is unemployed or underemployed. For unskilled men, the prospects are looking grim, with as many as 25 per cent of them never finding work once they lose their job.
  • Inequality – As the demands for skilled labour increases along with wages for those jobs, unskilled labour becomes a global commodity with dropping incomes.
  • Insecurity – More than 50 per cent of new jobs in advanced economies have been temporary, part-time or self-employed, a trend starting in the 1990s and showing no signs of abating.

Make sure to talk to your child about the new realities of work and how they anticipate they can insulate themselves from risk.

How to succeed in the gig economy

Your child will have more jobs, with more employers, and will likely supplement income by being self-employed. This is a vastly different approach to work than has ever been experienced, especially since it’s being played out all over the world. Competition and opportunity come from all corners of the world. Students in high school have to start thinking about a career in far more creative ways than ever before. The good news is the kind of creativity and collaboration required for success is, for the most part, welcomed by today’s youth.

Where to find good employment outcomes

A common desire for both parents and students is to find the right guidance for success in this new working order. Murdoch University was awarded a 5-Star rating for Employability. For those teens wanting to enter the job market and succeed, Murdoch is a good place to start. 

For more information about career planning, join us at one of our events tailored specifically for parents or bring your teen along to one of our career evenings.

Posted on:

18 Apr 2019

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