George John at TEDxLondonBusinessSchool 2013
Corporate Board Member recently interviewed Edie Weiner to get her outlook on the economy, jobs, and emerging issues for directors.
The real story is the collapsing of the time that it takes for technologies to come together and create enormous efficiencies in the way we do things. The problem is that we can’t grow new businesses fast enough to satisfy the labor that’s been displaced by the efficiencies, and that’s why we feel so much pain, and that’s why we’re not going to see those jobs come back.
And then she delivers this advice to corporate directors:
If I were a director. I would really want to know what game changers are out there that could completely disrupt the services and products that we’re currently offering, and I wouldn’t necessarily trust that I could get all that information inside the company. I would want to know from experts who are looking outside what is going on that could change the world of this company the way it exists.
And I would also be concerned about whether I’m doing the right things in order to get the best talent because in the end, whatever it is that [you] do, it’s about your people delivering to the marketplace.
“There is a potential for confusion between technological progress and ‘progress.’ In a certain simplistic sense the difference between growth and progress is all too obvious: It is the difference between ‘more’ and ‘better.’
The true measure of economic output is not the quantity of goods produced, but the quality and value of final services provided to the consumer.
Growth of the kind now occurring in the US and Europe is no longer making people happier or improving their real standard of living.”
Technology continues to progress rapidly. In fact, the past decade has seen the fastest productivity growth since the 1960s, but median wages and employment have both stagnated (and in many cases fallen), leaving millions of people worse off than before. This presents a paradox: if technology and productivity are improving so much why are millions struggling to make ends meet?
Technological progress does not automatically benefit everyone. Machines are doing more and more tasks that once only humans could do. There will be increasing disruption in the economy as businesses restructure, and employment, wages, and incomes re-align to the new machine age reality.
Speaking on NPR President Obama said:
“What is true is that globalization and technology are a mixed bag. On the one hand, they create a situation in which consumer goods are cheap and they create a situation in which we can have access to goods and services that we would never have had before. On the other hand, it does create a situation in which a lot of the jobs that are created are at the very top, high-skilled, you know, creative work that can’t be replicated, or at the bottom, low-skilled jobs. What we don’t have are those jobs in the middle.”
Which sectors do you think will be most affected in the next 10 years? Which professions are relatively immune for the time being? If you were advising the 18 year old you which profession or skill would you pursue?