Are we really going to run out of jobs?
My morning started (pre-coffee) with a Big Think article on a study by Oxford University that says that 47% of jobs will disappear in the next 25 years and apparently no, they are not going to be replaced by different jobs (e.g. the blacksmith making way for the mechanic). We are just going to be reliant on driverless cars to move our goods; AI to make our decisions and technology to deal with our taxes (I’m paraphrasing here!)
When you think about it, technology has been changing work for a long time – remember when Mrs Patmore from Downton Abbey feared the that the fridge would put her out of a job. However, our challenge is that society isn’t adapting fast enough – one could argue that we are actually regressing in certain progressive areas that could support this change.
By society I don’t just mean people like you and me, but the institutions that have been created to educate, govern and organise on our behalf. In this scenario, government and educational institutions.
Technology has been changing work for a long time – remember when Mrs Patmore from Downton Abbey feared the that the fridge would put her out of a job.
Assuming the article was correct, we are saying that in 25 years 47% of our kids will be out of job (now, I’m not a parent, but that is a very concerning statistic). Yet we are failing to teach kids (and young people in general) the key skills that they will need to manage and face this critical transformation. The challenge isn’t just to find a different ‘job’ but to somehow manage all the other social problems that will be created with mass unemployment.
When we talk about skills, its not just engineering or coding. We’re talking about life skills which we sometimes learn, sometimes develop through experience and sometimes just need to be aware of. Skills which everybody needs irrespective of their career, status, age, industry e.g. adaptability, resilience, cultural understanding, problem solving, leadership, creativity, awareness, communication, empathy, engaging others and many more.
Just watch Simon Sinek’s popular talk on Millennials in the work place, as he is far more eloquent than me!
For our next generation to unleash their potential, we need to focus on giving them the tools to build their version of an extraordinary life (whatever that might be). No one really knows what work will look like. We can speculate and make assumptions but for all we know there is a life altering technology about to be invented that’s bigger than the internet and electricity combined. Then what?
For our next generation to unleash their potential, we need to focus on giving them the tools to build their version of an extraordinary life (whatever that might be)
All we know is that things are changing. And we can already see that our younger generation is struggling. We are asking them to grow up too quickly, pay off their debt, take on the problems previous generations have created; yet at the same time we are calling them entitled, lazy, selfish and heaps of other generalisations brought on by the word Millennial.
Jobs aren’t going to disappear. They will change and will do so rapidly. Those that are have the right skills and traits to adapt will not only stand out from the crowd but thrive and lead the way for everyone else. The challenge is to realise that you need to step up.
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