Sunday, August 20

Crystal balls and careers advice

The Guardian’s Larry Elliott writes that Dhaval Joshi, an economist at BCA research, believes Moravec’s paradox will have a big impact on the labour market. Moravec considers two scenarios for a stylised economy with three jobs: a high-income innovator, a middle-income manufacturer and a low-income animal tender... It makes you wonder, listening to neighbours’ kids reviewing exam results and considering options. None appear keen to follow their parents occupations, believing farming and skilled trades in the building industry a mugs game – hard work, with too many hours and little financial reward (even though said parents have managed to clothe, house and feed them, pay for their education). Everyone wants to be a doctor, architect or leader writer. I’ve refused to proffer advice and wouldn’t know where to begin – haven’t a crystal ball, other than to remind them plumbers, carpenters and sparkies will never go hungry, and everyone needs to eat. Yesterday I read a column by an Indian girl named Snigdha Poonam. Looking at the prospects for kids on her side of the pond, she notes automation is costing the software industry in India 200,000 jobs every year, that redundant software engineers are returning to their rural villages and becoming farmers. As she says, “That’s a disruption no one saw coming.” Youngsters hereabouts considering their future would do well to note Poonam, who reminds us that every month another million Indians enter the job market.

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