What do you want to be when you grow up?


Faculty: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Category: Staff

7 February 2018

The future of jobs is changing. So how do we, as universities (but also schools and careers services), help young people make the right choices?

It's always a difficult question to answer (even as a grown up), but if you consider that 65% of today’s graduates will be doing jobs that don’t even exist yet, young people have an even harder time preparing themselves for the jobs of the future.

We are facing the fourth revolution – likely to have a similar impact to the Industrial Revolution and the mechanisation of manufacturing. Exponential businesses like Google, WhatsApp, Uber and Airbnb challenge conventional ideas about how and where work is undertaken and by whom. WhatsApp only had 55 employees when it sold for $419 billion.

A report by McKinsey suggests that 45% of all current tasks could be automated with present technology. So the answer towards a secure, employable future must be a career in science and technology, right?


As more and more jobs become automated, employees with skills that involve creativity and human judgment are likely to become increasingly sought after. As a report by NESTA shows 'Creativity is inversely related to computerisibility'. These are the types of jobs that are going to be hardest to replace with robots.

However it is not as straightforward as it seems. If 65% of jobs don’t exist yet how can we know what we want to be? What we should be asking young people is ‘who do you want to be when you grow up’? In other words, what skills do you want to have?

We need a workforce (young and old!) with 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, collaboration and digital literacy.

Watch this video, and look out for my next blog: 'What do you want to be when you grow up? Filling the skills gap.'

Sarah Jones is Marketing Manager for the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences.

She is committed to ensuring that young people make the right choices and realise their full potential. An advocate of arts disciplines, she supports the view that an arts education creates more fulfilled, better-rounded human beings as well equipping young people with skills which make them ideally placed for jobs of the future.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.