Home Careers Career Planning: Guiding Youth to the Jobs of the Future
Career Planning: Guiding Youth to the Jobs of the Future

Career Planning: Guiding Youth to the Jobs of the Future


By Dr. Marie Gould Harper
Dean, School of Business, American Public University

According to LinkedIn editor Andrew Seaman, our young people are seeking the same types of careers as their parents have, even though technology has opened doors for more innovative jobs that use skill sets such as artificial intelligence (AI) and digitization. In fact, a new study from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows teenagers are still attracted to traditional jobs such as doctors, business managers and lawyers.

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Why is this issue a problem?

  • Many of these jobs may be soon replaced by automation.
  • Our youth are not exploring skill sets that may be essential to be employable in the future.
  • Employers are already facing a tight job market for qualified employees. If nothing is done to alter this trend, companies may not be able to remain competitive and productive.

We Have to Educate and Encourage Our Youth to Think Decades Ahead

We have to educate and encourage our youth to think decades ahead rather than just what they might like to do in college, which may be in the next four to five years. Thinking about the long-term future may be the type of vision they need when exploring goals.

Everyone can be involved. Institutions of higher education can begin the shift by identifying the careers of the future, even if that means blending certain skill sets (for example, AI and digitization) into the traditional curricula such as business, legal studies and healthcare.

Employers should challenge their company training and development departments to create training opportunities that support the organization’s future mission and provide hands-on experience. Career Services departments can also assist the student learning process by creating an awareness of these types of opportunities and why they will be important to the future of society.

The bottom line is that we all have a role to play in ensuring our youth are prepared for what is soon to come. Think of it as “paying it forward” and being socially responsible for improving the quality of life for our future society.

Let’s create a sense of hope in our youth by encouraging them to dream big!

About the Author

Dr. Marie Gould Harper is the Dean of the School of Business at American Public University. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate in business from Capella University. She is a progressive coach, facilitator, writer, strategist and human resources/organizational development professional with more than 30 years of leadership, project management, and administrative experience. Dr. Gould Harper has worked in both corporate and academic environments.

Dr. Gould Harper is an innovative thinker and influential leader, manifesting people skills, a systematic approach to problems, organizational vision and ability to inspire followers. She is committed to continuous improvement in organizational effectiveness and human capital development, customer service and the development of future leaders.



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