If there are days when it feels like the world is riding madly off in all directions, it probably is. Change is the culprit and it’s never happened this fast or in so many places at the same time. Nothing in our experience has equipped us to deal with it.
Parents who are sending their children to university in the current economic and technological climate expect that when their children graduate, the jobs they’ll be applying for will be as traditional and as plentiful as they were in their parents’ day. They may be in for a surprise.
Employment relationships aren’t what they used to be. Corporate tastes in university degrees have changed. We have to factor that into how we think about the role higher education is going to play in the life of our children and what their options are going to be. Change is a fact of life for real companies and organizations with real names. Our kids need to know which companies and organizations they are or are likely to be.
We also have to bear in mind that the cost of tuition has risen 40% in the last 10 years. That will continue. Over 50% of all jobs are now precarious. Over half of those jobs will be automated in the next 10 years. That, too, will continue.
The links in what follows will take you to articles and reports about the current environment and how it will impact on your young people and those of people you know. They feature GE’s Jeff Immelt (#4), MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson (#12), McGill’s Suzanne Fortier (#12) and Google’s Sergey Brin (#16), among others.
- September 1969 — The first node of ARPANET installed at UCLA
- August 12, 1981 — IBM introduces its first personal computer
- July 15, 2014 — “Apple and IBM Forge Global Partnership to Transform Enterprise Mobility”
- August 4, 2016 — LinkedIn interview with GE CEO Jeff Immelt: “Culture is not just apps. It’s a combination of people and technology. If you are joining the company in your 20s, unlike when I joined, you’re going to learn to code. It doesn’t matter whether you are in sales, finance or operations. You may not end up being a programmer, but you will know how to code. We are also changing the plumbing inside the company to connect everyone and make the culture change possible. This is existential and we’re committed to this.”
- September 2016 — Deloitte survey “Transitioning to the Future of Work and the Workplace, Embracing Digital Culture, Tools, and Approaches”
- October 22, 2016 — Finance Minister Bill Morneau offered this advice at a Liberal Party gathering in Niagara-On-The-Lake: “Get used to the ‘job churn’ of short-term employment and career changes.”
- December 17, 2016 — Morneau’s advisory council on economic growth predicts that: “Fully half of all jobs will be automated during the next decade, making massive retraining a social and economic necessity.”
- January 14, 2017 — “Innovation key to achieving Trudeau’s resourcefulness.’” In order to move Canada’s reputation away from resources to resourcefulness, PM must break the mould of linear thinking.
- January 12, 2017 — World Economic Forum report: “The jobless world and its discontents, How can we prepare for a future where drones, 3D printing and automation replace jobs?”
- January 14, 2017 — The Economist: “Lifelong learning, How to survive in the age of automation” (Cover story and Special Report)”
- January 16, 2017 — “As Robots Take Jobs, Europeans Mull Free Money for Al
- January 19, 2017 — Davos 2017 – Issue Briefing: Jobs and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
- February 2017 — Maclean’s print edition: “When robots steal your job”, The real driver behind re-shoring is automation. Robotic jobs, not human ones, are coming back.
- February 2017 — Automa-nation: Will robots take your job? A new report suggests 42% of the Canadian job market is at risk.
- January 17, 2017 — IBM THINK Blog, IBM Cognitive Principles
- January 19, 2017 — World Economic Forum, Davos 2017: Google’s Sergey Brin on AI
We’re told that we’re in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We may not know how the story ends, be we do know that it will probably involve some form of advanced education. Our children have to be prepared.