65% Of Kids Will Work In Jobs That Don’t Yet Exist. What If We Ask Founders What Skills They Hire For?

65% Of Kids Will Work In Jobs That Don’t Yet Exist. What If We Ask Founders What Skills They Hire For?

John Tan, CEO, Doyobi
December 2, 2021
2 min read

The best way to predict the future is to invent it. The next best way? Ask the people inventing it.

65% of kids will work in jobs that don’t yet exist. Yet mainstream education is still teaching kids the same math, science, history etc you and I were taught decades ago. Clearly, schools are not doing enough to prepare kids for jobs of the future.

Asking founders building the next Apple/Amazon/Google what skills they are hiring for is a great proxy for the skills needed for future jobs.

The future will be invented by the people building the next big thing. Ask any founder what the biggest determinants of their company’s success are, and talent inevitably comes up. Good founders have an uncanny ability to peer into the future and see what’s next. They also know the skills they need to be hiring for to build the products that will get them there.

If anyone has an inkling of what jobs of the future will look like, it's founders who are inventing the future. While they cannot hire for jobs that don’t yet exist, the skills they are hiring for right now are probably as close as we can get to predicting the skills needed for future jobs.

If kids can learn to code, why can’t kids learn first principles thinking? Or clear communication? Or how to receive feedback?

One of the best analogies I’ve come across of traditional teaching versus designing for learning is filling a cup versus lighting a fire. Kids are not empty vessels to be filled with knowledge. They are curious, creative human beings whose natural instinct is to build, not memorise. In a previous essay, I wrote about why kids like coding. They don’t get a kick out of writing code. They get excited about what they can build with code.

What if we help kids understand first principles thinking and show them how they can apply reasoning from first principles in everyday life? What if we teach kids the basics of clear communication and show them how to use their newfound skills to negotiate with parents? Or what if we teach kids how to be receptive to feedback so they can become better artists, pianists, footballers etc?

Most adults (myself included) underestimate what kids are capable of. Let’s point to the stars. Provide rocket.

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