‘Talking points’ in The Week, 6-7 August 2021, featured ‘The X Factor: farewell to the talent circus’. The article reports the announcement from ITV confirming that there are no plans to bring the show back. It ran for 14 years and is described as a “well-oiled machine for churning out pop stars and Christmas No. 1s”. The magazine reports that “the world has changed: fans now like to find music for themselves, on TikTok or YouTube”. Now, for me, this is an indicator of the culture of our times and not merely a commentary on a TV show.

Discovery is the new norm

Label them Gen Z if you will, but the youth of today have been brought up with technology at their fingertips. And the comment above illustrates this well. Today, pop stars are made by people discovering their music and by that discovery going viral, rather than by a clever promoter making it hard for you to ignore their chosen acts. So, let’s switch this around and compare this recent news – the demise of X Factor, partly due to the rise of music discovery – to careers advice in the UK.

All our research suggests that psychometric testing is the ‘go-to’ start point for careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) in a vast number of our secondary schools and academies. The experienced careers advisor will take the student output from the psychometric test and, using well established principles, will advice a career path for the student. “Your profile has ‘these’ attributes, therefore you should go down ‘that’ route.” This is not new. In fact, it’s rather old. It’s been that way for years. And in that respect it reminds me of the 14 years of X Factor on our screens. Proven formula. Don’t change it. It creates successful outcome. Until, of course, one day technology and ‘discovery’ have undermined your position and you are decommissioned.

Careers on your terms

We all know that AI and Machine Learning can consume and analyse more data than the human mind, and that this technology can identify trends and matches that people could not easily spot. Maybe never ever see, because there is just too much data?

Now, let’s extrapolate the trend in music discovery through Tik Tok and YouTube to the world of work and careers. To CEIAG. With a vast data-set about jobs – their attributes, their associations, their entry requirements, their pay structures, their promotion routes, their practical skills, their intellectual skills, their academic needs, their management responsibilities – we can apply AI and Machine Learning to create a whole new world of career discovery.

This is career discovery on your terms. Whenever you like, wherever you like. Just like music discovery. And all done to satisfy your aspirations, your desires, rather than the outcome of a psychometric test and a predetermined set of rules.

Evolution not revolution

Please don’t get me wrong here. I’m not advocating a revolution, a total overhaul of the status quo. I’m advocating another way of helping people find out what might suit them best and how to go about getting there. Something to assist in making the old guard more effective and deliver good outcomes in a more engaging way. Another string to the bow. Another arrow in the quiver.

Push the button

Working Eye is building the career discovery world that I have alluded to here. We are ready to push the button and create the film material that will sit within the AI and Machine Learning platform that we have created. Film material that will enable true discovery for our young people. It will sit alongside the existing data on over 2,000 jobs and bring these options to life. It will help our young people engage with career discovery the way that they interact with many other aspects of their lives. And it will empower them to follow their aspirations and pursue careers that fit their dreams.

Working Eye is just a step away from being about to deliver this career discovery platform. If you have any comments that would help or inform us, please let us know.