We’ve Had to Prepare for Jobs that Don’t Exist Yet Before

FAST COMPANY | Think about explaining to someone 25 years ago what a social media manager, ride share service employee, or drone operator does for a living. Technology combined with population demands, resource scarcity, urbanization, and other factors have created an array of new jobs and radically changed others.

Getting an accurate count of these new jobs is tricky. Like erroneous memes and urban legends, murky statistics sometimes gain a life of their own. One such percentage alleges that 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist. While it’s widely quoted, a BBC investigation into the matterfound that it’s more like one-third of future jobs.

But, the question of preparing students for jobs that don’t exist exacerbates a question that already keeps CEOs up at night. According to CareerBuilder’s 2018 Hiring Forecast, 45% of human resources (HR) managers say they have been unable to fill open positions because they can’t find qualified people.

Whether the much-publicized “skills gap” is due to unprepared applicants or employer-created factors, a looming challenge remains: What should we be doing now to give students the skills they’ll ultimately need for work?