Past Program

Mar 19, 2015

Vienna Evening Discussion: Educating Young People for the Jobs of the Future


Salzburg Global Seminar was founded by young people in 1947 to challenge present and future leaders to solve issues of global concern. Nearly 70 years later, a top priority facing societies in and beyond Europe concerns youth and their economic prospects. Statistics on the true cost of youth unemployment for the global community are hard to come by but one thing is clear. For societies and individuals to prosper and flourish, systems innovations will be needed to equip all young people with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to achieve their potential and perform the jobs of the future. 

Strategies for Today 

Austria and Germany have long-standing dual systems of vocational education and worker training and enviably low levels of youth unemployment. In today’s global knowledge economy, is this a strategic asset that can be exported – especially to parts of the world with high unemployment and gaps in the skilled labor market? Could such systems be further improved and what would this mean for public-private sector cooperation? Do vocational educational tracks meet rising employer demands for flexibility and critical thinking? 

Needs for Tomorrow

As digitalization, robotics and artificial intelligence transform the job landscape, the future of work and the role of education will come under increasing scrutiny. With figures such as Google CEO Eric Schmidt calling for “permissionless innovation” and a “culture of creativity” , what practical approaches could boost human capital development across all sectors of society? Will future educational systems need to ‘relearn learning’ and transform teaching? Will the distinction between ‘academic’ and ‘vocational’ become outdated as part of these complex changes? What partnerships between government, research, business and technology could pave the way for tomorrow’s citizens to function in and contribute to radically different economies? 

Insights and recommendations from the Vienna debate will help to inform Salzburg Global Seminar’s ongoing strategic programs on education, innovation and economic and social sustainability, building on expertise within Austria. We are currently seeking to develop a multi-year intervention with partners from autumn 2015, provisionally entitled Generation Next: Pathways into Work. This will build on Salzburg Global’s earlier three-year series on Optimizing Talent: Closing Educational and Social Mobility Gaps and its complementary programs on emerging challenges for the global economy and social and regional cohesion.