Safe from automation, jobs in personal and community services have grown by 87 per cent over the past 25 years. 

That is good news for working carers who have jobs in the personal care sector, or those looking for employment in the sector.

The finding comes from the report The New Basics by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA). The report has found that jobs in personal and community services have grown by 87 per cent over the past 25 years and these jobs are one of the few types of employment that are relatively safe from automation.

While many other manual occupations are under high threat of automation or becoming obsolete, personal services jobs showed strong growth.

The FYA also analysed job ads from 2012 to 2015, and found that demand for people skills had grown by nine per cent.

This is consistent with the overall strong growth in demand for ‘soft skills’ such as problem-solving, teamwork and communication skills.

The FYA calls these ‘enterprise skills’, and its analysis of job ads found that these sorts of skills are 70 per cent more in demand for what it calls ‘jobs of the future’.

‘Jobs of the future’ is how the FYA describes any job at low risk of automation. This means that if you’ve got one of these jobs, you’re less likely to be made redundant by robots, or clever computer software.

And with recent predictions that up to 40 per cent of Australian jobs are at risk of automation, it’s good to be in a growth area like personal care, where the work requires high-level interpersonal and communication skills that robots can’t reproduce – at least not yet – as well as empathy.

Growth in the personal care sector is also helped by Australia’s ageing demographic, which will continue to drive demand for carer services as all the baby boomers retire.

However, it’s not all good news. The FYA has sounded an alarm, warning that Australia’s education system is not preparing students for a job market that increasingly requires such ‘enterprise skills’ or ‘soft skills’ rather than memorised knowledge or specific technical skills.

For example, it found that about a third of 15-year-old Australians have poor digital literacy, one enterprise skill that has seen staggering increases in demand even over the past couple of years.

The FYA noted that the growth in demand for digital skills was not restricted to traditional IT roles like computer programming, but was also increasing for dentists, vets and marketing workers, among others.

Personal carers may soon join this trend. With the current push towards e-medicine as a way to save costs in an ageing Australia, personal carers may soon have to use software to check clients’ care plans and record activities like giving medication or helping with physio exercises, regardless of whether they are ‘professional carers’ or caring for loved ones.

So it’s no time for complacency. Consider brushing up on your basic software skills to have an edge when applying for the ‘jobs of tomorrow’ in personal care.