‘Don’t Look Back, We’re Not Going That Way’

–– Marcia Wallace


PDD prepares parents and their children to be labour market aware so that together they can arrive at an understanding that certain jobs will be more ‘secure’ than others. This means that some ‘chosen fields’ may have to be ‘un-chosen’ and rethought. From where we sit, pragmatism will have to take precedence over ‘chosen fields’ when it comes to choosing post-secondary education, unless those fields are aligned with the needs and objectives of employers.

After graduating from McGill in 1968, I joined IBM and was trained to be a Sales Representative. For the next 6 years, I crisscrossed Western Quebec and Eastern Ontario watching my customers shape the future of work. Businesses are continuing that process to this day. Some of those changes will involve job loss; some will involve net new hires.

I recognized the need for what ultimately became Personal Due Diligence (PDD) in 1976; my careers as an Executive Recruiter and an Outplacement Consultant underscored it. I resolved to provide my daughter and son with the means to make informed decisions about higher education and how to approach the world before they ventured into it. The decisions were made well in advance of committing funds to four or more years at university. In each case, we began the process two years before they graduated from high school.

My children were six years ahead of their competitors because of that early beginning. They had the time to explore and evaluate options that would otherwise not have come to their attention. They indulged their curiosity, tested their assumptions and made comparisons. They didn’t know it at the time but they were gearing up to conduct their first full-fledged job searches. This is serious business because tuition is 40% more expensive today than it was 10 years ago and the trend will continue. Neither their children’s time nor their tuition will be refunded if they make the wrong decisions about what to study.

Many of our parents built lives and careers around the 40-hour—or longer—workweek. There was an air of predictability about it, jobs were full-time and permanent, and they came with benefits and pensions we could draw on starting at age 65. But in less than a generation, 57% of jobs have become precarious and 40% of jobs will be done by robots and artificial intelligence within the next 20 years.

The bright side of these statistics is that 43% of jobs are not considered precarious and 60% of jobs will continue to be done by people, for now. That’s where the job market is and we tell our clients that. Then there are emerging markets. We tell our clients that, too.

It isn’t a cliché to say that the world in which we grew up has changed. It’s a statement of fact. This is the only world we and our children have. Some points to acknowledge:

  • Business has documented everything it’s done to bring us to this point, including where it plans to go, and it’s left a trail. We should follow it.
  • Marcia Wallace was spot on when she entitled her book ‘Don’t Look Back, We’re Not Going That Way’.
  • Post-secondary education will be a prerequisite. But it will have to be the right education in the right place at the right time.

Employers don’t hire personnel any more, they buy talent and they’re making no secret about what they’re looking for in that talent. On June 12th, Ottawa announced that it plans to cut wait times for foreign workers wanting to join Canadian technology firms. Meanwhile, employers are using applicant processing, screening- and evaluation software to eliminate all but 10% of incoming résumé traffic, not because that’s a preset clipping level, but because that’s the norm.

Stories about the plight of 300,000 graduates who were working as unpaid interns broke in 2012. They didn’t do due diligence when it came to investing in their future: they gambled, and they lost. The Government of Ontario has pledged to close the income gap between permanent and part-time employees. But like all governments before it, it remains silent on the subject of labour market awareness. PDD is anything but silent on the subject because your child’s future depends on it.

The fate of those graduates wasn’t inevitable then and it isn’t now. The gaps in what parents and their children know about the forces at work in the labour market and the global economy must be filled in. This is where PDD comes in.

By contacting us, you’ll be taking the first step in providing your child(ren) with the knowledge, awareness and tools to survive in today’s economy, and tomorrow’s.



Neil Morris
President & Founder

Phone: 905 273 9880
Email: info@personalduediligence.ca
Skype: fnmorris
Web: personalduediligence.com