“Fortune favours the prepared mind.” — Louis Pasteur
Today is the tomorrow you were worried about yesterday. Here’s what it brought: ‘The Intelligence Revolution: Future-proofing Canada’s workforce’ courtesy of Delolitte and the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA). Their message:
“Over the next decade, the future of work will be shaped by a completely new force: the ‘Intelligence Revolution’. It will be driven not by incremental automation in manufacturing processes but by exponential change based on machine learning, virtually free data storage and communication, and ever-increasing computational power that rivals some human capabilities.
“These developments will change what a job means, affecting the work we do and how we do it. The report introduces a series of new work archetypes based on the future-proofed capabilities we believe Canadians will need to succeed. It also includes recommendations for business executives, government leaders, business, and workers themselves that we believe must be implemented to put Canada on the path to success.”
If only we could solve problems as quickly as people publish reports about them. But we can’t. Take skills shortages and skills mismatches for example. We’ve been hearing about them since the early 1990s and we’re still hearing about them, over a quarter of a century later. We can measure distances to stars, detect gravity waves and look back over 13 billion years into space, but we haven’t figured out how to close the gap between employers with vacancies to fill that cry out for university educated people—and those people.
Not that what the report predicts—describes, actually—isn’t important. It is. But it begs a question: Why hasn’t our education system come up with a solution to the problem of mismatches and shortages? Could it be that it has a problem setting priorities? Surely the “system” is aware that the problem exists. Does that mean that it doesn’t consider it enough of a priority. Will the ‘Intelligence Revolution’ fare much better?
Maybe the problem isn’t one of setting priorities, maybe it’s one of attention span. Or maybe the “system” just doesn’t care. Personal Due Diligence (PDD) cares.
That’s why I conceived it, for parents and students who care. They know how the labour market has changed, and now, how it’s going to change. What they want to know is, what does it mean for them? They want to connect with it so that their children can put their education to work in it. And they need the answers now, not 25 years from now.
The changes are real. Here are two examples from the FORTUNE CEO DAILY (Oct. 9th) on “WSJ. magazine’s interview with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (accompanied by his predecessor, Bill Gates). Nadella is one of the most successful, and most thoughtful, CEOs on the scene today, so it’s worth some attention:”
“On the speed of innovation: There’s never been a period, I guess, when there were three of us spending north of $10 billion in tech on research and development. Like $12 billion. Amazon is spending that, Google is spending that, we are spending that.
“On the danger automation will kill jobs: Technological displacement is a real issue. But it’s not going to be a binary transition. There will be new kinds of jobs. We’ll need education and re-skilling…continuous learning. Without the technological breakthroughs, we’re not going to have enough growth, and that’s not going to be good for anybody. So let’s optimize for growth and at the same time solve for the displacement and bring meaningful cohesion to society so that people feel they’re able to participate and contribute.”
From the FORTUNE CEO DAILY (Oct. 10th) citing FORTUNE’s Most Powerful Women summit in Washington:
“Concern that our workforce doesn’t have the skills it needs to fill available jobs, both now and in the future, is a serious concern.”
We saw the consequences of skills shortages and skills mismatches in 2012 when reports began to surface that 300,000 graduates with one or more degrees couldn’t find work in their chosen field. Because of coincidence or otherwise, the subject of a $15 minimum hourly wage started to gain traction in a way we haven’t seen before. But we won’t be there until 2019, a year after the Ontario provincial election. In the meantime, employers will continue to drive down labour costs or eliminate them any way they can.
How long this will last, or if it will last, is anybody’s guess. But in many families, decisions about post-secondary education are pending and money will be spent. Universities have more to lose than they used to. They’ve read the writing on the wall and they’re reducing labour costs the same way many employers are. Tuition in Ontario has risen by 40% over the last ten years. Government funding of universities has dropped by almost 17%. Tuition, incidental/ancillary fees, books and school supplies for a 4-year bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto now cost $9,868.44 a year for a total of almost $40,000. That assumes the student lives at home. Parents are looking for alternatives.
When jobs aren’t as secure as they used to be, $40,000 is a lot of money. Parents want their child’s degree to be in demand in the right place at the right time. The sooner they start working on that, the greater likelihood that there will be a customer for their child’s higher education, and that the work will be in a field of their child’s choosing. The alternative is to roll the dice and hope. We’ve been rolling the dice and hoping for the last 25 years.
PDD treats the transition from high school through university and into the working world as a project. Our clients learn to perform many of the functions of a small business. Market/labour market research is one of them. Building a business case to support a major expenditure is another. We start at least two years before shopping for a university begins in earnest. You want to know where the full-time work you or your child want to do is or is likely to be, what it will take to qualify for it, and what it will take to land it. That’s language PDD understands.
Toronto just throw its hat into the ring to host Amazon’s second headquarters. According to FORTUNE CEO DAILY, Alan Sloan at The Washington Post believes that Toronto just might win. That could be a game-changer. There will be more.
Canada needs its university and other post-secondary graduates to be fully and gainfully employed. Life and society wouldn’t be the same without them. Louis Pasteur said, “Fortune favours the prepared mind.” PDD will help you prepare.
You can learn about the people of PDD by clicking here. You can reach me at the coordinates below. Please do.
F. Neil Morris
PERSONAL DUE DILIGENCE