Pearson and Nesta to predict skills gaps for the 2030 jobs economy

Pearson and Nesta to predict skills gaps for the 2030 jobs economy

Education company Pearson and innovation foundation Nesta are partnering on a research initiative to predict skills needed for employment in 2030 and the implications this has on learning.

The research partnership, forged in collaboration with Michael Osborne, a professor in "machine learning" at Oxford Martin School, is designed to provide businesses, governments and education experts with new insights and evidence about competencies needed in the future economy and will provide recommendations for how education and job training can better prepare tomorrow's workforce.  

The anticipated report, refered to as "Employment in 2030: Skills, Competencies & the Implications for Learning", will build on Osborne's seminal 2013 paper with colleague Carl Benedikt Frey on "The Future Of Employment", in which findings revealed up to 47% of total US employment is at risk from computerisation. 

The methodology for the project will be both "novel" and "cutting-edge", involving "foresight exercises", examining trends by sector in the UK and US jobs markets, and "a machine learning algorithm" based on US department of Labour data. Pearson and Nesta will share the findings of the research publicly on completion.

Michael Barber, chief education advisor to Pearson, said: "Businesses, governments and schools are struggling to adapt to the pace of change required to prepare the workforce of tomorrow. This world-class research partnership provides an opportunity for us to learn now about the skills and competencies that will be needed tomorrow - and to prepare accordingly.”

Hasan Bakhshi, senior director, creative economy and data analytics, Nesta, said: “This research will provide a substantial contribution to answering some of the most pressing questions that education faces. By extending beyond the effects of automation to examine the wider set of profound trends that will shape the demand for skills in 2030, and by coupling expert foresight exercises with machine learning, we will be able to surface novel insights that policy makers and practitioners can have the confidence to act on.”

Osborne, Oxford Martin School, said: "I am optimistic that there will still be plenty of good jobs available in fifteen years’ time, but it's clear that many of these will require mixes and depths of skills that are currently rare. To plan for this, we need greater insight into what these skill combinations will be. We also need learning - across ages and stages - to begin to prepare for these probable futures."

Pearson last week revealed a 7% decline in half-year sales and 11% fall in revenues. C.e.o. John Fallon plans to make £350m savings by the end of 2017, with 3,450 full time employees already notified of exit to achieve this, and has promised investors it is on track to meet 2018's £800m operating profit target.