Thursday, 27 October 2005

What will her future be? 14 months later

Last year, I wrote What will her future be? trying to find out what the future of my daughter will be, as a generalisation, what the future of our next generation will be?

I even started a blog as a way of documenting my search for some answers. I blogged on 23 Theses about the future of work, I found a bit of relief from ITconversation Richard Florida talked about The Rise of the Creative Class, see What will her future be - 2?

Thomas L. Friedman has proposed a very convincing ways of understanding the impact of globalisation, ICT on our future job structure. Out of his 10 forces that flattened the world, I would argue that the opening of China and the students movement in China has contributed to the Fall of the Berlin Wall, AND liberated a huge low cost labour forces which supported the out-sourcing. Anyway, whatever the driving forces are, massive globalisation (v3 according to Friedman) has arrived.

Friedman identified 4 categories of workers.

Workers who are special are people like Michael Jordan, Bill Gates and Barbara Streisand. They have a global market for their goods and services and can command global-sized pay packages. Their jobs can never be outsourced.

By definition, most of us do not belong to this group.

specialized, so that your work cannot be outsourced. This applies to all sorts of knowledge workers — from specialized lawyers, accountants and brain surgeons, to cutting-edge computer architects and software engineers...

I am not too sure about this group. I believe these jobs will become fungible* too.

The third type is anchored such as
barber, the waitress at lunch, the chefs in the kitchen, the plumber, nurses, doctors, lawyers, entertainers, electricians and cleaning ladies.

The salaries from such jobs will be capped by migrants from low-wage countries, or temporary workers from these countries.

The fourth type is not exactly a job category. It is a worker category, really, really adaptable workers who can create job, find gaps and move quickly to fill in the gaps. The basic skill of this type of workers is the ability to learn, and to improve. Well, it all comes back to BASIC EDUCATION.

The question still remains. What kind of education should we provide to our children? The quest will continue.

* Work that can be easily digitized and transferred to lower wage locations is fungible.


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