This week I began reading ‘The 100-Year Life’, by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott. The book discusses living and working in an increasing age of longevity, centring on the statistics that a child who is born in the West today has a more than 50 per cent chance of living to be over 105. In contrast, a child born over a century ago had a less than 1 per cent chance of living to that age.
Consider a student born in 1998. They are anticipated to live to 100. The book proposes we will see, will need to see, and will benefit from, a shift in how we work. It argues that the three-stage life (education first, work second, retirement last) as the expected approach to career and life will no longer fit, making way for a multi-stage life, which will come with new ways to adapt, but with possibilities that are no longer marked out by specified stages or pinpointed to a particular age. It also looks at what other influences may impact on how careers and sectors may change, such as the ongoing increased growth of many city populations, and the advancements of technology in the workplace.
Most of the students I engage with through work were born in the late 1990s. This age group are often criticised and portrayed negatively in the press, for not being motivated and instead concerned by their social media likes. However I know from personal experience how committed and enthusiastic some of these individuals are in learning about, and contributing to, the workplace. I am often astounded by the responsibility they take on during a placement year, and the confidence they gain. I see that many of them could adapt to a changing world of work.
With an average lifespan of 100 ahead of them, it will be fascinating to see if there really is a move away from the traditional three-stage order of education, work, and retirement. If this change takes place it will be interesting to see how we prepare and support young people for a changing world of work, how much more common career change and ongoing education becomes for later adult life, and what impact technology will continue to bring.
About the author
Rose Leek is a paid blogger for CLL.
I relocated back near my hometown last year in Surrey, after a decade living near the sea in East Kent. I work in a University Employability & Careers Centre, assisting engineering and science students onto a placement year as part of their degree, and providing administrative support to their academic tutors.
I started the Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Education, Information and Guidance in Higher Education (CEIGHE) in October 2017 and am looking forward to developing a wider awareness of the service I work within, and increasing my confidence and understanding.
I have experienced a year with lots of change, and it is both exciting and daunting to be adding studying back into my life. I have never written a blog and my reasoning for doing so is the hope that it will help me to better reflect on, and share, my experience as a CEIGHE student. My course is mainly distance taught, with a few residential workshops per year. I wanted to also try to share the perspective of being a distance student, and how I will (hopefully!) learn to juggle the balance of study, work and home.
I look forward to the journey ahead!
And if all else fails, maybe the cat can do some of my studying for me?