In the recent years, job obsolescence has been a site for debate and discussion among most developed countries. In the past, reports of the death of human jobs have often been greatly exaggerated, and technology has created a lot more jobs than it has wiped out.
On the flip side, many believe that machines have bought the death of human jobs. With the rise of robotic technology and automation, people fear for the future of work. There is a greater need to diversify ones portfolio and career in order to keep up with the changing world driven by technology.
A recent OECD report finds that low and middle income earners have seen their wages stagnate and that the income share of middle-skilled jobs has fallen, This summer, the OECD Employment Outlook 2017 revealed that job polarization has been “driven by pervasive and skill-biased technological changes.”
So, some of the key questions that intrigues the upcoming labor force (i.e., the youth of tomorrow) would essentially include: Do we have the necessary skill set to keep up with the information age? Will robotics mean the dawn of massive unemployment in the upcoming decade? Is our education providing us with the necessary competencies for our potential jobs? Is there a need to diversify our career portfolio?
Jobsolescence deserves attention despite over hype
In an interview with CMRubinWorld, the USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson, he addressed that the overall effect of Job Obsolescence won’t be as dramatic as what people fears. However, the consequences still deserve serious attention.
Most jobs in the United States and other advanced economies are in the service sector, and involve interacting with other people. Despite advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), there is still a long way off from robotic nurses or home health aides. Overall, history tells us that at least as many new jobs are created as are displaced by technological innovation as long as up-skilling takes place.
Challenges for the workforce of tomorrow
A central question about the future is whether formal and informal learning structures will evolve to meet the changing needs of people who wish to fulfill the workplace expectations of the future. A high school diploma may not be enough to guarantee work.
A 2014 Pew survey found that among workers age 25 to 32, median annual earnings of those with a college degree were $17,500 greater than for those with high school diplomas only.
Everyone at whatever educational level needs to keep their skills sharp, and governments should join with employers and educators to instill better life-long learning opportunities.
But there are far fewer established paths toward long-term employment at a middle-class level of income for those who don’t graduate from college. A greater emphasis on vocational education and apprenticeships would help.
Is the apocalypse of white collar jobs coming soon?
According to Peter, the OECD estimates that only nine percent of jobs across the 35 OECD nations are at high risk of being automated, although of course even 9% can be generative of social difficulties.
But there is an established record across history of new technologies creating at least as many new jobs as they displace. Usually, these new jobs demand higher skills and provide higher pay. The biggest threat is that our educational institutions won’t be able to keep pace with new skills demands.
On the contrary, Stanford University academic Jerry Kaplan writes in Humans Need Not Apply: today, automation is “blind to the color of your collar.” It doesn’t matter whether you’re a factory worker, a financial advisor or a professional flute-player: automation is coming for you.
Competencies needed to compete
Creativity (critical thinking, communication, collaboration), character (mindfulness, curiosity, courage, resilience, ethics, leadership) and meta-learning (growth mindset, meta-cognition) will be among the top competencies needed for the on-demand labour force of tomorrow. Special skills for a particular job will be learned on the job.
Diversifying and differentiating education at the grass root level
Most schools at their higher and secondary level focus on STEM, a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. However, today the scene is quite different. There is a need to emphasis on the humanities and the liberal arts for their intrinsic value for developing skills and character qualities as described above.
This would not only be an holistic approach to education but also an interpersonal experience that will contribute to the development of the individual personality and social intelligence.
Education to match growing job competencies
There is a need for much stronger connections between education and the job market, in the form of more partnerships among employers, governments and education institutions. Everyone needs to step up and create true partnerships.
OECD’s BIAC has also documented employers wishes for deep curricular reforms to modernize content and embed competencies in order to meet today’s market needs, which requires much stronger connections between education and the job market, in the form of more partnerships among employers, governments and education institutions.
Career changes will require retooling, training and education.
Thus, digital enhancements will be taken out into the world – again, breaking down the walls of the classroom and school – to inform and enhance experience.
Role of the government in quality education
Every individual in the world is entitled to basic education. Education is an important factor that contributes to the overall socio-economic development of the country. The role of public intervention in the provision of education needs to be strengthened in the coming years.
Policy makers and educators should focus on making sure that workers are as equipped as possible to transition to new opportunities as these develop, and on ensuring that businesses have the freedom to pivot and adopt new technologies and business processes.
The guiding principle for government should be to protect and enable/retrain the worker, not protect the job.
This involves providing subsidized education, on the job-learning, apprenticeships, data-driven skills workshops at the high school level and startup incubators or problem-solving workshops at the college level in order to prepare for the information age.
On a personal note, I believe there is a need for the revamping of our educational system in the near future. Textbook learning will no longer require blind memorizing rather it would involve learning of skilled competencies through practical application that would benefit one’s career in the long run. We also need to see the incorporation of the subjects of humanities to think creatively and critically, to reason, and to ask questions.
Educational systems must be aimed at competency-based strategies in the way that credit can be earned or awarded, and provide students with personalized learning opportunities.
We need to break the traditional walls of our classrooms and take learning to the outside world!
Also, we would no longer want to see our kids go through ‘mugging up’ theories point to point. Rather, have them understand the very essence of the theory and the extent of it’s relevance and application in today’s world.