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As a result of technological progress and demographic changes, more than six million people in the UK are currently employed in occupations that are likely to change radically or disappear entirely by 2030. Without immediate action, there’s a risk these people will be trapped in insecure, low-value, low-pay employment – or worse, forced out of work altogether.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Nesta’s evidence shows which skills people will need in the coming years as jobs change, and new, tech-based training and careers solutions are becoming available for people who want to reskill so they are ready for the future. We also expect millions of new jobs to be created, including in occupations which don’t currently exist.

Nesta’s vision is for a labour market system where information about skills and careers is open and empowering for workers; where technology is harnessed to reduce – not drive – inequalities in access to jobs; and where policies give everyone the power to overcome systemic barriers that stop them participating in good-quality, meaningful work.

The problem is that many people who are in low-paid work - or who aren’t working at all - aren’t able to access the information they need to plan for the future or the relevant training they need to gain new skills. They also tend to work in places and industries that are likely to lose out over the next decade, making it harder than ever for them to access good jobs. Half of adults from poorer backgrounds have had no training since leaving full-time education, whereas people who are highly skilled are much more likely to receive public and private funding to gain new skills.

Nesta’s vision is for a labour market system where information about skills and careers is open and empowering for workers; where technology is harnessed to reduce – not drive – inequalities in access to jobs; and where policies give everyone the power to overcome systemic barriers that stop them participating in good-quality, meaningful work.

Governments around the world, from Canada and Singapore to Denmark and France, are experimenting with solutions, through a combination of new approaches to data and information; new rights and entitlements; and new kinds of skills provision. At Nesta, we are tackling the challenges presented by the changing labour market through our unique combination of expertise, skills and funding. Our approach is practical and collaborative, driven by the rigorous use of evidence and data, emerging technology and the power of people.

We are urging the UK to support people at risk, and have been developing practical, evidence-based ideas on how to:

  • Empower workers to navigate their way to the jobs of the future by making information and guidance available to more people. We are doing this through linking skills data at city, regional, and national level, and running a Challenge Prize (in partnership with the Department for Education) to develop new digital career information, advice and guidance tools.
  • Tackle personal and systemic barriers to learning such as lack of time, motivation and money to undertake training. We’ve been testing tailored interventions for training at- risk workers both in the UK and in the Nordic and Benelux regions. We’ve invested in promising interventions that help people into work through Nesta’s impact investment fund, while gathering international examples of new rights and entitlements that enable people to reskill and upskill.
  • Future-proof the workforce by supporting interventions that develop social and emotional skills and resilience in young people, and by supporting teachers, parents and carers with the latest information about the changing world of work.
  • Stimulate the adoption of management practices and social policies that raise productivity and enrich jobs.

What needs to be done?

Authors

Ksenia Zheltoukhova

Ksenia Zheltoukhova

Ksenia Zheltoukhova

Director of Research Operations, Research, Analysis & Policy

Ksenia is Director of Research Operations, she is responsible for developing the strategic decision-making and project delivery capability of the RAP team.

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Geoff Mulgan

Geoff Mulgan

Geoff Mulgan

Chief Executive Officer

Geoff Mulgan has been Chief Executive of Nesta since 2011. Nesta is the UK's innovation foundation and runs a wide range of activities in investment, practical innovation and research.

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Jack Orlik

Jack Orlik

Jack Orlik

Programme Manager, Open Jobs

Jack is the Programme Manager for Open Jobs.

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Olivia Chapman

Olivia Chapman

Olivia Chapman

Senior Programme Manager, Future of Work

Olivia Chapman is a Senior Programme Manager at Nesta.

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Joysy John

Joysy John

Joysy John

Director of Education

Joysy is the Director of Education, leading Nesta's work in education across innovation programmes, research and investment.

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Madeleine Gabriel

Madeleine Gabriel

Madeleine Gabriel

Head of Inclusive Innovation

Madeleine Gabriel leads international projects that explore how new models of innovation can tackle big social challenges. Her current work includes a study on whether and how the co...

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Hasan Bakhshi

Hasan Bakhshi

Hasan Bakhshi

Centre Director, Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC); and Executive Director, Creative Economy and Data Analytics, Nesta

Hasan oversees Nesta's creative economy policy, research and practical work.

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