How parents can prepare their kids for the careers of tomorrow - new study shows it’s easier than you might think

Careers we could never even dream of now could soon be some of the most coveted positions - but how do you prepare children for that?

mum and her daughter working
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A new study has revealed how today's parents are attempting to prepare their children for careers that don’t currently exist - and no, you don't need a crystal ball to start putting in the work early.

Technology is moving forward at a quicker pace than ever before. And as well as this meaning we can now occupy our kids with the endless offerings from Netflix, Disney+ and Apple TV - the costs of which can be easily reduced with these top tips to save money on TV streaming services - it also means that the job landscape is widening up, a lot.

Careers that we could never have dreamed of 20 years ago are now some of the best professions you can enter, from content creators, social media consultants and media gurus, to AI specialists, robot manufacturers, and drone programmers. And if the landscape can change that much in such a short time, just imagine the work that will one day be available for today's children!

Now, new research has revealed exactly how parents are preparing their children today for these careers that, while they don't exist yet, will one day be incredibly important roles - and you don't need to time travel, use a crystal ball, or consult a psychic.

According to the study, parents are future-proofing their kids and preparing them for new jobs by teaching them 'soft skills.' These are transferable life skills that are important in any job role; time management, stress management, good communication, emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, problem solving, and work ethic among others.

By learning these, they are set up with the perfect jumping off point to get a good job, even in a career that doesn't exist yet, as they are universally recognised as important elements of not only a good employee, but a healthy person, both physically and mentally.

The study found that parents are prioritising these soft skills as the future is so uncertain, it's impossible to know what kind of career skills they may one day need. Just think, when you were a child, did you ever think to learn how to programme an AI? No! Because AI didn't exist until recently. But, if you learnt good people skills, gained experience in managing a team, and were keen to be a leader, if you wanted to now go into the AI industry, you'd have those skills backing you up.

Surveying 3,000 parents, the study found that only 29% listed hard skills like maths and data analysis as a key skill, with, in comparison, 38% prioritising teaching their kids resilience, the ability to cope through change, and interpersonal and social skills. The focus, it seems, is on teaching kids how to look after themselves and manage their lives, both professional and personal.

Caroline Wright, the Director of Early Childhood at Bright Horizons UK, who carried out the research, said of the findings, “These findings amplify the importance of the uniquely holistic educational approach practised in our nurseries.

“There is a rapidly growing need for parents to feel their child’s emotional development is being supported as they mature, so by introducing the concept of positive mental health from an early age, we can help children feel safe and secure and be open to learning” - no matter what job, whether it exists yet or not, they choose to pursue in the future.

Preparing kids for the future is incredibly important. If you want your kids to grow up to be successful, there are plenty of steps to take in childhood. The easiest to take if you want to raise successful kids is to stop yelling at them, says one child psychologist. Plus, an educator has revealed the 'unpopular' parenting rule that helped her raise two CEOs and a doctor. But more important than raising kids to have traditional work success in the future is raising them to be happy. We've got you covered on that too with our 8 expert tips on how to raise happy kids.

News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.