Jobs: The Knowledge Economy and the Future of Employment

Jobs: The Knowledge Economy and the Future of Employment
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According the Wall Street Journal, “The U.S. is losing high-tech jobs as American companies expand their research and development (R&D) labs in Asia, according to the U.S. National Science Board. These companies hope to tap a broader pool of scientific talent, design products for overseas markets, and gain favor with foreign governments by conducting more research abroad.

Although U.S.-based labs have developed new products such as the iPad tablet and the Kindle e-book reader, those products are manufactured in Asia, which increases fears among industry experts that more R&D will flow to Asia. In the six years preceding 2009, about 85 percent of the growth in R&D workers employed by U.S.-based multinational companies has been abroad, according to a National Science Board report.

Meanwhile, U.S. employment in high-technology manufacturing has decreased 28 percent since 2000 to 1.8 million jobs, mostly due to more efficient manufacturing techniques and the recession, according to the report.

Many companies are largely opening up new labs in areas with high concentrations of engineering and scientific talent, notes the report, which states that 56 percent of the world’s engineering degrees awarded in 2008 were in Asia, compared with just 4 percent in the U.S.”

CBS Evening News: U.S. not producing enough engineers

Cap Falcon top read article is related to the most demanded jobs in the next twenty years. In these times of uncertainty, there is a growing trend to understand what expertise will be sought after in the next decades. Forget being a generalist, the future is for specialists and experts who will master specific domains.

In a comment of the video underneath on whether technology is destroying jobs, Charles Wyke-Smith of People Matter, summarized in a beautiful manner the trend that we are witnessing since a couple of years:

“It’s simple – constantly reinvent yourself or be unemployed. To use the McKinsey & Company view, transformational jobs (creating something from raw materials) have gone overseas and the only growing employment area is tacit jobs, which require high levels of problem solving ability.

These jobs are the domain of the highly trained and “mentally creative” – people who write software, improve processes and can bring analytic skills to bear on business problems. Transactional jobs (where the same basic task is constantly repeated) such as as retail and restaurant staff, are the only jobs left for the “statics” (my term) who aren’t engaged in constantly educating and reinventing themselves. And self-serve point of sale, like at Home Depot, and robotic systems, such as electronic toll takers on the highways, are constantly eroding the transactional job market – the need for unskilled labor is reduced every day. So we have a dichotomy – chronic unemployment and yet hundreds of thousands of unfilled job positions – for tacit skills jobs like programmers, business process managers and networking experts.

Addressing this issue requires a total redesign our education systems to bring a new generation of tacit-skilled workers into the job market.”

Is Technology Destroying Jobs? A debate between two economists,
Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT’s Sloan business school and Tyler Cowen of George Mason University.

According to Fortune, here is an overview of some skills which are most in demand. Due the short supply, these skills will remain in demand for at least this decade.

Information technology. When career site recently analyzed millions of job postings on its web site, researchers found that the fastest-growing category of keywords — including HTML5, Android, mobile app, and social media. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that developers of systems software, for instance, earn an average of $94,180 per year.

Health care professionals. Partly due to the aging of the U.S. population, health care has been hot for a while now, and the trend shows no sign of slowing. The U.S. will need 103,900 more registered nurses every year (average salary: $64,690) physical therapists (average pay: $76,310), dental hygienists (average pay: $68,250).

Engineers.  88% of employers in a new poll by the Society for Human Resource Management have difficulties of finding enough engineers to hire (average annual pay: $77,560).

Industrial skills.  68% of employers in the SHRM survey pointed to a shortage of qualified new hires to replace people retiring from the skilled trades: electricians, carpenters, welders.

Source: Wall Street Journal via ACM TechNews / Fortune / Tech Crunch

Photos Credits:
Chinese Engineers Join Peacekeeping Force in Darfur  By United Nations Photo / FlickR
Electron microscope in Seagate’s R&D lab – Wuxi, China By Robert Scoble / FlickR