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& What to Look For In a Job
Dr. Greg Ketchum, 4/10/04
Everyone is concerned about outsourcing of
American jobs to India, China & other low-wage
countries. It’s a big issue in the presidential
campaign. It’s the current “leading suspect”
when it comes to talking about this “jobless
recovery,” but it turns out that it’s not the
leading suspect after all.
Many factors are contributing to this jobless
- Global Economy: Puts
pressure on to be ever more efficient.
- Soaring Health Care Costs:
Makes companies hesitant to hire.
- Uncertainty: Terrorism,
corporate scandals, Iraq & the stock market
bust all have contributed to uncertainty &
caution in hiring.
The Truth About
It’s a contributing factor in the jobless recovery,
particularly now that formerly “safe” white-collar
jobs are being outsourced. However…
The Truth About Productivity
The real culprit is continuing productivity, which
has been averaging 5% annual gains in recent years.
Productivity is growing faster now than it did
in the late 1990’s.
- Key Fact: 1% point increase in annual
productivity growth can eliminate up to 1.3
million jobs a year. Self-check kiosks at airports,
smart gas pumps…
Productivity is Good: It helps to keep
inflation down, wealth rising and innovation up.
We’ll ultimately grow our way out of this job
New Research Findings
Economists at MIT & Harvard looked at factors
that make one job relatively “safe” from outsourcing
or elimination through productivity gains and
another “vulnerable.” They found…
- Key Factor: A job that is
“routine” enough that it can be broken down
into repeatable steps will little variation
is a “vulnerable” job.
- By Contrast: The “safer”
jobs are the ones that are hard to reduce to
a repeatable routine. These jobs require flexibility,
creativity, and lots of interaction with other
people, often in management positions.
- The Good News: A great majority
of jobs in the US are not routine.
- Look for Jobs With These Two Factors
The job that can’t be broken down into repeatable steps
and/or requires a lot of human interaction, i.e. management,
teaching, sales, human resources, etc.
- Improve Your Communication & People Skills
These skills will make your much more valuable to your
employer. Many companies are moving to “matrixed” organizations,
which requires these skills to survive.
- Improve Your “Big Picture” & Business Skills
Think about it. Your ability to “see the big picture”
at work and understand how business works will allow you
to see new opportunities for business and be able to personally
add to the bottom line.
If you’ve got work or career topics you’d like to see us
address, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
®2004 All rights reserved. Gregory
A. Ketchum, Ph.D.