What skills and abilities do people most want to learn today? Why?
I suppose many young people are interested in technology skills because they seem to be almost essential in most careers nowadays.
A lot of my friends are interested in people-based skills as well and are interested in pursuing careers in marketing and consulting so they are interested in the psychological and social aspects of managing people among other things.
Another thing which is important is that many young people tend to be choosing a broader range of career paths these days, which involve a greater blend of skills from more traditional professions.
Obviously there are still those who choose to become doctors or similar but there are newer careers which didn’t exist some years ago, for example, forensic accounting and criminology which have also become popular amongst people I know.
So I believe that high-tech skills and the ability to possibly move from one professional area into another through transferable skills is becoming not only more desirable and sought after but almost essential for those who wish to be professionally mobile and build a good career for themselves in the long term.
Which skills should children learn at school? Are there any skills they should learn at home? What are they?
Well, I think it’s important for children to learn all the basic and traditional academic skills at school, you know, like math, language, science and so on. But it’s also important that they are encouraged to develop their ability in critical and analytical thinking.
Then there are other skills, for example, creative skills and problem-solving abilities which should be nurtured while at school. Certainly at the school I attended that was the case, with a lot of emphasis on the development of creative and problem-solving skills.
With regard to skills which should be learned at home, I believe that parents do have a responsibility to teach their children to be good citizens or responsible members of their community, and that is usually best done through setting them a good example through their own behavior as parents.
It’s also popular to encourage children to be creative while at home through the use of creative activities and in my own case my parents always encouraged me to read a lot as well to develop my vocabulary skills and learn about many different things.
I also think that parents can teach their children about discipline, determination and setting goals and how to achieve them.
Some people might consider these as skills while others might consider them to be simply personal qualities or attributes. Personally I think they are skills you can learn.
Which skills do you think will be important in the future? Why?
That’s difficult to say, but based on what we’ve seen happening in recent years, there’s definitely a trend to automate as much as possible the manual and repetitive operations which were once done by workers.
These functions are, in great part, being carried out by computer systems, so as we’ve seen the advent and development of the knowledge-based economy it would be safe to assume that in the near future this will continue with knowledge becoming ever more important rather than skills which can be automated or replaced by computer systems.
In the more distant future it’s incredibly difficult to even imagine some of the new technologies that might be introduced and therefore the skills which will be in demand – but there will always be a demand for creative skills, entrepreneurial skills and anything which can’t be easily replicated by systems.
People skills will always be important so if you could combine all of these into a career – you’d be on to a good thing – but I’ve no idea what that would be.
One thing is for sure, young people looking at careers now need to think in terms of skills flexibility and possibly cross-functional or cross-discipline skills and not simply limit themselves to one area.
Professional mobility and agility will be highly valued in the future as the pace of change in the business world is ever increasing.
Jobs & Salaries
Which kinds of jobs have the highest salaries in your country? Why is this?
Traditionally, it’s been jobs or careers in areas like banking, accounting, legal and specializations in medicine.
But it’s been changing quite a bit in recent years – there are more and more young entrepreneurs who are starting their own enterprises and if they have a good product or idea and it becomes popular and the business is a success then they generally earn much more than the examples I mentioned before.
It’s always been the case that a good remuneration package was offered for those positions which required a high level of responsibility and/or a long time in training and extensive knowledge or expertise.
I suppose it was like a reward for all the effort and years of studying and training involved.
However, nowadays, quite a lot of young people are not so attracted by just high salaries – they want to do something they believe in, something they are passionate about – and in many cases that’s becoming the most important factor when thinking about the types of jobs you might like to do.
Are there any other jobs you think should have high salaries? Why do you think that?
Really, I don’t think you can just say that a particular job deserves to have a high salary. It’s more based on supply and demand. You don’t necessarily have to be a doctor or lawyer to earn a good salary.
If you have skills and experience in your field and there are not a lot of other people who have the same then your value is much greater than if you can only offer the same skills and experience as everyone else in your professional field.
And sometimes when there’s a shortage of a particular skill set or type of worker, they can receive higher salaries than normal, but it may not be a permanent situation – it may only last for some years until the skill shortage passes.
What usually happens is that when young people realize, for example, that lawyers are earning a lot because there aren’t enough lawyers to meet the current demand, you’ll see an increase in students enrolling in law school to take advantage of this.
The problem is when there are so many young law graduates that law firms no longer have to offer high salaries because young lawyers are just happy to get a job – so it’s a kind of constant balancing act.
Some people say that it would be better for society if everyone got the same salary. What do you think about that? Why?
Well, it’s an interesting idea – but what would be the purpose of that? It has been proven that humans are naturally competitive, although some people much more than others, but it doesn’t really seem practical to propose paying everyone the same no matter what they do.
For example, if everyone received the same salary, a person working in a factory would receive the same as a doctor, but the doctor has to spend around six years studying and training and has much greater responsibility, why would any young person choose to become a doctor?
And if that was the case everyone would simply choose the easiest job to do – and we would end up with no doctors or specialists.
It would be ridiculous! It might be hypothetically fun to debate the pros and cons – but we live in the real world – which in general is driven by market forces – and so therefore value attached to jobs is dependent on the demand for those jobs and salaries generally reflect the degree of training, experience and responsibility required to carry out those jobs, among other factors.
I can’t really imagine such an ‘equality’ system actually functioning, for the simple reason I gave – how would you get people to do the jobs nobody wanted or those that required a lot of qualification and so on.