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The one thing that has so far been certain in 2020 is the uncertainty of it all. For school-leaving students, the uncertainty has been compounded by the question, “Will the course I pursue lead to a job?” This question gains significance when you consider the harsh reality of so many workers in this COVID-19 challenged world now facing redundancies, wage cuts and career changes.

In August, the Reserve Bank of Australia forecast an unemployment rate of about 10% for the quarter ending in December 2020. The annual wage growth in Australia has eased to 1.8% in the June quarter, hitting its lowest level in two years, while unemployment is said to have reached 7.4% - the highest in 22 years.*


In short, COVID-19 has changed three interconnected aspects: how we live, learn, and earn. Gauging the employability of a course and developing core competencies that are transferable across any occupation or industry can help us adapt to “new normals”.


Recent reports released by the National Skills Commission (NSC) can guide us in both these areas. In August, the NSC released a list of 25 emerging occupations that can guide those wanting to reskill or find new employment within Australia in the near future. As it happens, some appear to have made the list because of the spread of COVID-19.


Emerging occupations identified by the NSC


Digital Deepening

  • Digital Marketing Specialists
  • Social Media Specialists
  • User Experience Analysts
  • Data Analytics


Data Analysts

  • Data Scientists
  • Data Engineers
  • Data Architects
  • Pricing Analysts


Emerging Business Practices

  • Agile Coaches
  • Devops Engineers
  • Logistics Analysts


  • Risk Analysts
  • Regulatory Affairs Specialists
  • Energy Auditors
  • Compensation and Benefits Analysts


  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Nurse Liaisons
  • Biostatisticians


Sustainability Engineering and Trades

  • Solar Installers
  • Energy Efficiency Engineers
  • Wind Turbine Technicians
  • Hazardous Materials Labourers


Refreshing Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSCO)

  • Fundraisers
  • Researchers
  • Research Assistants


Source: Burning Glass Technologies, NSC Analysis


The list can help young graduates and those in the workforce find short- or long-term courses to pick up new skills that could lead to these occupations. It can also provide direction to Year 12 students waiting to pick their university or TAFE/VET courses.


Why opt for higher education with all its expenses?


If you were ever in doubt, ABS figures and subsequent analysis by the Australian Government for its Job-ready Graduates Package reveal that during a recession, total unemployment increases at a faster rate than graduate unemployment, making a strong case for higher education.

Some key points listed in the Job-ready Graduates Package in favour of tertiary education:

  • It is a key driver of employment and income.
  • Graduates enjoy an income premium of around 60% of those without tertiary qualifications.
  • 96% of the gains in employment over the last 40 years have been made by people with tertiary qualifications (Certificate III or higher).
  • Tertiary qualified workers have greater employment security during periods of recession when unemployment increases faster among those without a tertiary qualification.

Tertiary education and lifelong learning, however, come at a cost, making these goals a financial priority. Futurity can help you save and invest for your family’s education.

Futurity Insights_ In times of uncertainty, bet on education.

Besides higher education and lifelong learning, you can achieve standout attraction in the job market with some things that never go out of fashion – having the core competencies. These vital elements are particularly important for young people, who are yet to develop other specialist skills required for different occupations.

As part of the Australian Skills Classifications work, the NSC has identified 10 core competencies required for every occupation in Australia. Irrespective of the industry or job you are in or aiming for, the following core competencies are sought after by all employers.
  1. Teamwork – working effectively with others and personally connecting with others for work and learning

  1. Initiative and innovation – taking on responsibilities and challenges, being able to start up and carry out projects and generating options to cope with changes

  1. Planning and organising – developing specific goals and plans to prioritise, organise and complete work and learning

  1. Oral communication - talking to others to convey information effectively, giving full attention to what other people are saying and understanding the conversation.

  1. Digital literacy - identifying and using technology (including hardware and software) confidently, creatively and critically

  1. Reading - interpreting, comprehending and interacting with written words

  1. Writing - communicating effectively by writing appropriately for the audience

  1. Problem solving - identifying problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions

  1. Learning - understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making

  1. Numeracy - understanding numbers and using mathematics to solve problems.