Competing For Jobs

There is general agreement within the education sector about the need to focus on what are called the STEM subjects.

The STEM subjects include science, technology, engineering and maths and the belief is that greater performance in these areas will make us more competitive at an international level.

The need to compete internationally is often related to the performance of countries like China and India, as they are increasingly seen to perform in the STEM subject areas.

This is the current thinking supported by government and education policy, however, there is an increasing need to focus on the skills valued in the new economy. These include creative thinking, problem solving, communication and the ability to speak other languages.

This is necessary because of the changing nature of jobs and the skills needed to compete on the world stage.

The impact of globalisation and technology on the jobs market is taking its toll and affecting more people as competition increases.

Increasingly jobs are categorised as low paying, middle level and well paid.

Lower paying jobs include a wide and growing range of service jobs that rely on physical input such as cooking, caring and cleaning.

Middle level jobs include areas such as typing, accounting services and processing finance or insurance claims that need direct individual input.

Lower paying jobs are difficult to contract out or replace with technology, while middle level jobs are increasingly contracted out or undertaken by computers.

This leaves the remaining high-prized, well-paid jobs that everyone wants, as they can lead to rewarding and long-term careers.

The challenge, however, is that these jobs need particular skills: decision-making, problem solving, creativity, language skills and the ability to communicate, persuade and influence.

These are the skills that differentiate employees and provide the added value that attracts a premium in the new jobs market.

They are also the skills used by many entrepreneurs to start new businesses and create jobs that benefit the economy and our broader society.

SO, we must continue to focus on the STEM subjects while realising they alone are not enough to ensure a successful future. 

What do you think? Can you compete in the new jobs market?

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