The Future of Jobs is Bright

If you read some of the top technology predictions by our leading tech engineers — think Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering at Google — you’ll quickly see that we are driving towards an era where we can nano-engineer anything we’ll ever need and can grow in-vitro meats to feed everybody.

Even one of the world’s most vocal organisation on living standards, the United Nations, is of the view that over time technology will eradicate most forms of poverty around the world.

So, soon, there will be food for everyone, we’ll be living forever — wherever that may be — and robots will be doing most of our current tasks we call work.

Great.

However, there’s a lot of talk about the dark side of tech in the immediate future.

The two dominant themes being: how automation and robots will cause mass unemployment and how technology is eating our privacy. So it is understandable many are worried about their next pay-check, and whether helicopter drones will soon be herding us like cattle into a ‘Matrix-esque’ human battery farm.

Well, Google’s Kurzweil notes that 100 years ago, up to 90 per cent of the jobs in the economy were agricultural farming jobs. Today, that category makes up less than 1 per cent, and yet those yield more crops from having less workers than than they did 100 years ago.

The fact that we use technology to become more productive and accelerate efficiency makes everybody think: “Yikes! We are going to lose our jobs!” But new jobs are going to emerge. We will find other ways to occupy our time, be paid for it, and hopefully feel more fulfilled.

Futurist Jason Silva succinctly declares we are the chief agents of evolution. Juan Enriquez uses the term homo-evolutis; the being that evolves itself, the being that transforms itself.

“The challenge is evolving all seven billion of us at a rate that outstrips the rate technology is disrupting what we currently do.” 

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The latest report from the McKinsey Global Institute is focussed on the rise of Talent Platforms and the impact they can have on the global economy. McKinsey neatly points out that technological advancements and globalisation have created a more dynamic and fast paced business environment, but the way economies connect most individuals to work has been slow to respond.

Think about it.

Most businesses currently employ people — let’s call it buying talent — by advertising a job online, or through a staff referral.

Now try to imagine buying anything else that way. Like buying a car or house by putting out an ad saying that you’re looking for one. It would take months! You would be flooded with people trying to sell you a car you didn’t quite ask for, and you’d need to reply to them all to say sorry. 

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This is how employment works, and you can quickly see if we don’t fix it we won’t be able to identify skills gaps quick enough to tackle the disruption that automation will bring to our working world.

This is the problem that keeps me up at night, and what the team at LiveHire are striving to solve. We think we have the solution, but it takes more than technology, it takes critical mass, it takes a movement. It takes embracing it as a community of talented individuals, and business owners, small and large, moving us collectively and headlong into a world where we are ready to evolve at the rate required.

This is a new world where employers connect to people for attributes and train for skills rather than the other way around. New jobs and work will be created in new industries and we must all be ready and agile enough to fill the gap.

“Entrepreneurs constantly reinvent themselves, and we are all entrepreneurs at heart. We should not fear that what we are doing today we must continue to do tomorrow.” 

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So, I’m optimistic.

It takes optimism to change reality. Will there be speed bumps along the way? Of course. Almost every week now a new billion dollar company is born which disrupts our current workflow.

Unlike the disruption of the agricultural economy, we don’t have a full generational timespan to adapt. But this equally creates opportunity, and like a kid doing their assignment the night before it’s due, we will find a way to succeed.