Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Where have all the Jobs Gone?

The world of employment today seems to be obsessed with university degrees.When I was starting out it was okay to just have one but today, employers are expecting two or three.

There are a few problems with this approach;

The World of Paper Qualifications 

First of all, degrees (and indeed all forms of tertiary education) are now very expensive. They were government sponsored in the recent past but now it seems to have gone back to the idea that only rich people can have degrees. Even then, it seems that most people have to take out loans for their education, meaning that they have to spend years paying them off when they really need to be saving for a home.

Secondly, degrees, particularly multiple degrees, take years to complete. That means years spent in academia learning what usually amounts to outdated concepts instead of getting useful experience in the real world.

Finally, there just aren't the jobs for degree-holders today. Employers are requesting degrees but they're quite often non-specific about their nature. It feels like the degrees are just a box to tick on the form.

Times, they are a-changin’

The workforce of today is quite different from the workforce of twenty years ago.

Back then, the big fear was that computers would take everyone’s jobs - and that did indeed happen with some areas like banking and retail being decimated.

What was unexpected however was that the massive increases in global communications would cause all the mid-range jobs to be outsourced to what essentially amounts to overseas slavery (given the barely survivable wages and poor working conditions).

Sure, local employees can do a much better job but who cares when for the same cost as a single employee, you can throw 5-10 overseas employees at the problem.

We've lost most of the Low and medium band jobs and of course only a few people can work in the high-end jobs - and since those jobs are mainly about “meetings” and “team management”, they're not particularly suited to people with Asperger's syndrome.

People with Asperger's have Normal IQs

It's part of the criteria for Asperger's that the subject is not significantly behind (or ahead of) their peers.  People with Asperger's often seem to be more intelligent than their peers but that's usually just down to focus, special interests and co-conditions such as OCD.

In reality people with Asperger's have more or less "normal" IQs with the majority of the differences being due to other factors including socio-economic factors and co-conditions such as learning difficulties and ADHD.

Many people with Asperger's simply will not have the opportunity to go to university.

Finding the Job Market

So, where are all the non-degree jobs these days?

Believe it or not, there are many job opportunities for school leavers without university degrees, you just need to know where to look.

The key to identifying these jobs is to eliminate the two major threats; computer technology and outsourcing.

Removing outsourcing is easy. Just ask yourself, would it be possible for someone overseas to do this job. If it's a job that involves paperwork, typing on a computer (including programming), team meetings or taking or dispensing money, then yes, it's in danger of outsourcing.

If it's a job that needs "hands on" interaction, such as surgery, dog washing, aged care or landscaping, then there's little chance of it being done remotely.

Eliminating technology is a little harder. Many jobs thought to be safe, like fast food ordering and cooking and supermarket checkouts are now replacing people with technology. Delivery services, including Amazon and the postal service are also being replaced by robot-drones and email.

To be truly "technology-proof" a job needs to be sufficiently different on a daily basis that it is not worthwhile programming a computer to deal with it.

For example; building a new house off a plan is fairly structured and could possibly be done by technology particularly as new houses increasingly use emerging technologies such as “smart walls” where the wiring is already built in.

Working on the electrics, or plumbing of an old house however introduces too many variables to make it worthwhile setting a computer up to do the task. So long as there are still old structures to support, "tradies" will be needed.

The same applies to many “personal” services such as hairdressing, childcare, pet services and aged care.

The job market is still out there, it's just a matter of making sensible future-proof choices.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

...and if you've been focusing only on job skills that involve calculation and computers (whether because of Aspergers, or because you were raised and taught by strict parents afraid that if you learn how to make friends then you'll get alcohol and drugs and sex from friends), remember:

Even if normal people are slower at this stuff than you are, *you* are slower at this stuff than a *machine* or *software program* is.

Pointing to well-off techies in previous generations as proof that being a techie will make you well-off (or your children, if you're choosing careers to steer your children into instead of choosing a career for yourself) is ignoring one big thing:

Some of yesterday's techies *became* well-off because they got paid to do things that automated away future techie jobs.