According to a new report from Accenture, Ireland’s education system needs to start prioritising attitude over aptitude if we want to be prepared for the future of work.
This week, Accenture published its Learning to Lead report, which surveyed more than 600 teachers, parents, young adults and employers around the challenges Ireland faces in preparing for future jobs.
One of the main findings of the study was a “disconnect” in the journey from education to employment. Only one-third of the businesses involved, for example, said that education is moving forward at the same pace and in the same direction as industry.
Less than half (42pc) of employers said students are not prepared for rising to the needs of the future of work. Employers were also asked about the top skills needed for work of the future. The most highly cited were softer skills including communication, work ethic, teamwork and problem-solving.
Despite this, the report suggests that many companies are not investing in upskilling their employees, with almost two-thirds of respondents having no plans to put training programmes in place.
In terms of student outlook, more than half of 16 to 25-year-olds said that how they were taught subjects in second-level education did not adequately equip them for working life.
Teachers also expressed concern that roles and industries of interest to their students won’t exist by the time they enter the workforce.
Emphasis on soft skills
The emphasis placed by employers on soft skills, Accenture said, points to “challenges in predicting specific roles that will be relevant in the next 10 to 20 years”.
Based on the results of the report, Accenture said that developing “transversal skills” should be high on the agenda for educators, preparing students for “an unknown future workplace”.
Alastair Blair, country managing director at Accenture, described Ireland as having “a unique window into what future jobs might look like”.
“Education and industry need to work better together to own the opportunities of tomorrow. There can be a real win for Ireland if we get it right. As a country, we are big enough to be relevant and small enough to be nimble,” he added.
Accenture has created an infographic based on some of the key results from its report – check it out below.
Learning to lead: Preparing for tomorrow’s jobs. Image: Accenture
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