Futurist Phil Ruthven On What’s Ahead For Aussie Kids – And How To Prepare

Women Love Tech
on 6 June 2018

Futurist and business leader Phil Ruthven, the founder of business information research company IBISWorld, has released a new book, The Future for Our Kids. Here he talks exclusively to Women Love Tech about what is ahead for our future generation.

The author of, The Future for Our Kids, discusses the challenges facing the next generation.

One of the key challenges will be accepting Asia as our new economic, social and ethnic region.

“For the first time in history, Asian nations are aware of Australia, its massive land mass, its abundant mineral wealth and its fabulous potential for growth. With more than five Asian cities boasting bigger populations than our entire nation, accepting our new role in the Asian Century will be our biggest challenge,” said Ruthven.

Virtual Education is expected to become the norm for tertiary and quaternary levels of education in the mid-21st century. What does this mean for the future generation?

The arrival of the digital era (fast broadband, AI, analytics and big data), saw our world of learning and knowledge change forever. Search engines and social media became the new virtual sources of information and knowledge, but also brought on a fair measure of gossip, urban myths and fake news.

This means future generations need to be tech-savvy and develop skills in separating facts from fiction.

Increased life expectancy provides the capacity to spread our working lives over twice as many years as our forebears. For those born in the 2020s, a working life timeline of 55-60 years is on the cards. Given this, how can we prepare for a longer working life?

We are already preparing for a longer working life by investing in lengthy formal education, more students undertaking university courses, on the job training and re-skilling, as well as virtual learning. We are also adapting to the need to be paid on outputs – as opposed to inputs, which will drive the mix of freelance, part-time and full-time work throughout our working lives and the need to remain healthy in the body as well as the mind.

The industries with the best survival rate: the health industry; the rental, hiring and real estate industry; the agriculture industry and the finance and insurance industry. How do areas in STEM compare to this?

The importance of STEM lies in the base disciplines it provides for almost any walk of life. The end objective should not be to necessarily work in science, engineering, manufacturing or other goods-based industries, as STEM is also a powerful base for fast-growing service industries.

The employee of the future will experience profound change, with the term ‘employee’ likely to fade into history by the 2050s. Tell us more.

History reminds us of the long journey into working choices, freedom, self-determination, esteem and reward. We have progressed from slavery and serfdom to small scale farming, bound employment and apprenticeships to evolving into the employee of today. The next step is to establish a business-to-business relationship between employers and workers, where individuals are hired on a contractual basis and paid by outputs, not inputs. Contractual advisers will help individuals do this on a fair basis, in the same way that financial advisers help with investments, or career advisers help with planning one’s working life. This evolution worries older generations such as baby boomers however is welcomed by Millennials and Gen Z.

Describe the challenge and impact of the next generation in accepting Asia as the megaregion and as Australia’s new economic, social and ethnic region.

Already, two-thirds of Australia’s immigration, trade and inbound tourism is with Asia, therefore we are well on our way to be a Eurasian society before the end of the 21st century. Approximately five generations from now, we will morph into an Asian society which will be five times wealthier (and knowledgeable) than today’s. The best is yet to come- and Millennials and Gen Z must adapt and welcome this.

The Future for Our Kids is available at all good book stores including Dymocks, Readings or online at Wilkinson Publishing

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