One startup, one story: what if you could prepare for jobs that don’t yet exist?

How a web platform is reinventing career advisory services. Let’s meet Pixis.

Our children live in a world where the jobs of their parents will soon be defunct, and the jobs of tomorrow don’t yet exist.

In an environment like this, many are wondering, how do I prepare for the future of work? What skills will I need? What will be the jobs of tomorrow?

We are entering the so-called ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, where the way we live and work is changing fundamentally. Technology is advancing at breakneck speed, disrupting established business models and practices, and even whole industries. Geeks are going creative, as the traditional boundaries between arts and sciences are being broken down. No-one expects a career for life, or even a pension. The rise of artificial intelligence even has some questioning whether humans will be needed at all in the future.

Enter Pixis.co. It was founded by an Italian, Borna Scognamiglio, and Wissam Sammouri, a Lebanese with a PhD in data mining, who met each other while studying in France. They saw that future workplaces will require flexibility and multiple career changes, and a combination of skills that can’t easily be obtained at school or university. Some careers are so new and evolving so fast that there is little guidance at all – particularly in the key areas of sustainable development and innovation.

Predicting the future isn’t easy, of course, but big data had untapped potential for career forecasting. In particular, the Pixis team noticed three things. Firstly, most students (67% in a 2015 OpinionWay survey for LinkedIn) want better careers advice. Secondly, over one-third of university students change their mind or drop out in their first year. And finally, companies report that students lack the right skills. That, they surmised, was a market opportunity.

One year later and Pixis won the French Tech Ticket Global Startup competition. After a year of mentoring and seed funding, they released their online college guidance platform.

Pixis, meaning ‘compass’ in Latin and Ancient Greek, offers a variety of pathfinding services. There is a career search engine called ‘Galaxy’ to start. Students can then complete an online questionnaire to identify potential future careers. There are a variety of paid-for premium services, such as signposting required skills and how to acquire them. While universities and colleges may provide some of the basics, students of tomorrow will need to complete their CVs through online courses, self-teaching via YouTube and MOOCs, the massive open online courses that are shaking up traditional ways of delivering learning.

For those wishing to delve deeper, Pixis also offers a paidfor coaching service via a directory. This includes coaches and professionals offering to answer questions about their chosen career, or to describe the reality of their daily working life. Coaches are curated according to their use of advanced cognitive methods, while quality is assured through user ratings.

Pixis are also developing an artificial intelligence assistant that will accompany users through the platform and make connections between the different services.

If you’d like to know more about startups in France, click here to read the new Business France book about 35 success stories.

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