Challenges in Employment in the Coming Decades
Growth in India and China will expand the number of working-age people to over one billion in India and around 0.86 billion people in China and over 5 billion worldwide by 2050. However, the market is having a difficult time coping with the influx of new workers in providing them with jobs. Employment is a major challenge for states especially in the face of the growth of automation. Lower level physical labor jobs are being taken over by machines and skilled professional jobs are available but the education system has not been able to catch up.
In the coming decades, we will have to fundamentally redefine what we consider jobs and how that system will work. While the technologies that are being developed today have taken away a large number of traditional jobs, they also hold a lot of promise in delivering growth and development. We only have to make sure that people are not left behind.
It takes a distinct amount of time and effort on a society to train an individual. If a society trains people with skills that are not useful to society, it then faces two problems. The first is that it still has a responsibility to take care of that person, and secondly it has wasted that effort training an individual which could have been spent on something else. From the individual’s perspective, this could cause low self-esteem as they have a sense that they aren’t able to contribute anything of worth which may lead to social instability if this occurs on a large scale.
Right now there is a significant disconnect between the market and education. There is not enough coordination between the companies and the education system that educated the next generation of leaders and employees. As a result, there are large portions of the population that are unemployed or underemployed, while in other sectors, businesses are having enough time finding enough talent. Eventually based on salaries and through media, the market will correct itself, but the lag time between demand and supply is far too long.
To address this, we have to be able to better able to understand the progression of technologies and how they will affect the employment market. Then there needs to be coordination between the private sector and the public education sector on what skills are most important and how to most effectively teach those skills. Having a high level understanding of the balance of different disciplines is also important.