21.09.2017

Will those selection criteria skills still be useful in a few years?


For all the good that public servants have achieved for the Australian community, few possess the STEM skills — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — that nearly every forward thinker acknowledges will shape the nation’s future, and what jobs survive automation.

Will there be any role for the service delivery expert with a passion for managing human teams? Or the generalist whose public service passport is stamped with S.T.A.R. examples from all walks of government?

A new future work position paper released today from the Australian Information Industry Alliance puts a positive spin on automation, arguing that technology will also create jobs. It points to past experience where 220,000 job loses in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors “has been more than compensated for by the 3.9 million jobs that have been created in sectors including mining, business services, social services and construction.”

Undoubtedly fearing the trade unions at the gates with pitchforks and torches, the AIIA explores in detail the likely future work opportunities in 10 industries that technology will bring including education, health, professional services, finance, retails, and transport and logistics.

Future needs will evolve from existing skills

It’s all well and good to talk about hypothetical jobs that other people hold, but what about yours? Can your public administration skills translate to the new economy? The AIIA thinks so.

Using Australian Government Job Outlook data and analysis done by the Institute for the Future on future skills, AIIA has mapped today’s common skill requirements against those identified by the IFTF. “Our aim is to illustrate the extent to which new skills are an evolution of a range of existing skills and to provide a broad skills framework that individuals, businesses and educators can work towards.”

Specific capability requirements vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but you will recognise the many in these requirements of today, and how they’ll likely to evolve to future skills for tomorrow’s jobs.

Non-STEM skills are just as important

AIIA says that even amongst their own technology-industry membership, where STEM skills are a premium, employers want more than hard technical skills. They’re seeking a mix of skills that combine knowledge, people and personal skills — with an emphasis on creativity, flexibility, tolerance of ambiguity, social intelligence and personal resilience and … *sigh* agility.

“Enterprise skills such as complex and creative problem solving, innovative thinking, communication skills, teamwork and collaboration and an understanding of the business and industry context are what many of our own members are looking for from their hires.

“This is consistent with analyst predictions that more technical and cognitive skills such as creativity, reasoning and complex problem solving, combined with social skills (influencing, persuasion, emotional intelligence and the ability to teach others) and processing skills (active listening and critical thinking) are becoming ‘core’ across many industries.”