The evolution of jobs through history:
- In service, pieceworker or indentured serf,
- Salaried job for life,
- Series of ‘permanent’ roles,
- Portfolio of concurrent contracts for own clients,
- Portfolio of digital money machines,
The new consumer entertainment business model – houses are information deltas that data streams flow into.
Today’s career advice – work for minimum wage, until you can devise and start up a sustainable money machine of your own.
Today’s complex supply chain is tomorrow’s drone journey – drone deliveries of 3D printer raw materials e.g. from the oil fields to the biodegradable/recyclable plates & utensils that you print out for your dining table…
Premium quality universities may preserve blended learning (and blended research) techniques for their creative interaction value. Meanwhile, Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) providers are likely to try to emulate pure digital retailers, offering their client-base modular learning products for personal up-skilling and continuous professional development (CPD).
Should premium quality universities partner with MOOC providers to offer premium university-branded online learning modules and what kind of demand might emerge?
Regardless of how fast the ‘long tail of higher education demand’ emerges, represented incidentally by supply not just demand, student demand for elite undergrad and graduate programmes will likely remain strong. It’s perceived value comes in helping those students differentiate themselves in the workplace and use premium university content to aid workplace performance.
However, as MOOC providers ‘fatten’ the thickness of the long tail by progressively offering affordable, modularised courses, globally accessible, in multiple languages and able to be studied at a time convenient to the student, premium quality STEM universities need to think more about the post- qualification needs of engineers, doctors and scientists for continuous professional development. Premium STEM universities would also be wise to think about how much of that emerging demand to capture themselves. The set of post-qualification needs could be represented in two dimensions; career seniority skills and career breadth skills.
The faster new professional fields emerge due to global innovation, the harder it becomes for any employee (highly talented or not) to plot a linear career progression that preserves their marketability (embrace sufficient career breadth for what is required). Or have an effective grip over newly-emergent fields that support the organisation’s core mission (enabling them to then achieve hierarchical seniority).
Career seniority skills include; training in budget, project, process and operations management, change management, information & service quality management, business strategy & marketing. Techniques might include; using simulations for planning, improving communication flows and learning risk management practices.
Career breadth skills include; spending time understanding allied innovations and research breakthroughs that have some bearing on the person’s area of greatest experience. For example, for an ambitious doctor going from a large specialist NHS Trust into a small private practice, it may be advantageous to broaden their knowledge of medical imaging techniques and image interpretation.
MOOC’s threat to low quality universities
Unlike for the premium quality university programmes that rely on creative interaction value, MOOC providers can be expected to sooner or later out-compete the low quality universities who can only offer simple lecture-style content of a standardised nature. Such universities have a significant physical cost structure to support, while MOOC providers offer their customers a vastly cheaper price for at worst, the same academic content and (virtual) study group experience.
How can premium quality universities understand market CPD needs better?
A key question to ask might be what step changes will talented and ambitious graduates need to make for their career progression and how can we position to match those needs?
Premium quality universities are arguably in pole position to communicate the value of specific knowledge and problem-solving skills to employers that drives CPD demand back to themselves.
Some business schools already do this well in providing bespoke onsite training courses of short duration to the employees nominated by their client. Therefore, what scope is there to maximise this demand opportunity, not with bespoke organisational courses, but with customised sector training, centred on the generic step changes?
On a related note, could the excess capacity of expensive university research kit (High Powered Laser machines, Wind Tunnels, Wave Tanks, MRI Scanners, High resolution/high speed digital cameras, Big Data Centres) be used in such CPD training courses, perhaps via a fieldtrip visit to the university campus?
If so, two other benefits might arise – with greater ongoing demand, the equipment resources could be scaled up to capture economies of scale for the university. And secondly, the effectiveness of alumni fundraising might rise – offering more CPD courses widens the potential alumni base and for returning alumni, reaffirms the bond with their original institution, which hopefully translates into greater donations.
Personal comfort zones are footprints in a circle, that become one foot in the grave. Opportunity zones are footprints leading to the horizon, that leave one foot high ripples in a pond.
Trend mapping with a moral compass is the answer. What was the question?
Train hard, track safe. Train easy, train coming. Track dangerous.
Hope is like gravity. It anchors us to a great Planet, surrounded by people we can help. And those who will reach out to us, if we let them.
If you equip yourself with the right skills, retire early and enjoy the good life, without money worries.
Wealthy people are just philanthropists still in their wrapping paper.
The worst thing about prison is how inflexible the hierarchies are. The best thing about going straight is how many hierarchies you can choose to follow.
I read an interesting preview on the ‘Recruitment Grapevine’ website, based on a recent London Business School survey of Generation Y work attitudes.
In it, the London Business School says 90% of Generation Y employees do not plan on staying with one employer for more than five years – with 37% planning to stay less than two years.
Richard Hytner, Adjunct Associate Professor of Marketing at London Business School says that “The job market can respond by better casting people to very specific projects, very specific assignments, very specific opportunities – multiple opportunities – in order to keep talent developed, stretched and hungry.”
Does this mean in the skilled labour market that we’re moving increasingly to project jobs that involve people working on multiple projects concurrently and on a stream of projects in sequence?
Will job agencies that operate in the skilled labour market, evolve into brokers between project tender issuance and project tender submissions?
Will Gen Y (generation cynical/generation rent) manage their own careers as a portfolio of income streams (involving client project work that is less than five years long, possibly from multiple concurrent clients), rather than as one ‘permanent role’ salary from a ‘permanent’ employer?
Lastly, will many future white collar management jobs evolve into project management roles instead?
Education and self improvement are the silent couriers delivering self-confidence and pride through your post box. How else will you make any sense of the World?
Teachers are like route guides not tour guides. When you graduate school, the route ahead will need plenty of skills to navigate a journey of safety, but with its own adventure…
Career plans start with looking outside yourself. Before you choose an apprenticeship or university course, think about future trends. Will electric engines take over anytime soon? Will inexpensive machines cut, style and weave our hair in five year’s time? If everyone’s going the same career way, be a creative maverick, but upskill early…
In business, is the boundary between being an amateur and being a professional slowly blurring?
Product planning often rolls out a new product to the early-adopter market. This segment may include tech enthusiasts and fashion trend-setters, depending on the product on offer.
The early-adopter market might comprise both pros and amateurs – amateurs unconstrained by corporate budgets (including the ‘Maker’ revolution) and professionals seeking a competitive advantage, at least in the short term. Do product marketers make a distinction or lump them all into the ‘early adopter’ category?
In the luxury goods market, early adopters of the new luxury product release (a Rolls Royce car say), again might comprise passionate amateurs (wanting the luxury status in their amateur life) as well as wealthy business owners, wanting the luxury status in their professional life. Of course, the status spillover isn’t usually something they complain about either.
Switching gears (no pun intended), is there an important distinction to be made between wealthy philanthropists who give in their amateur life, versus those who arrange grants from their own business organisations?
As the product quality to cost ratio improves – cameras, music-recording systems, broadcasting, publishing, sports gear, (some) healthcare, tourism, labour-saving devices etc, does it get easier for passionate, talented amateurs to duplicate professional efforts?
Who does this matter to (the winners & losers)?
Governments whose population rely on a structured (licensed) professional labour force, strong in the above areas, might care about the changing economics of those industries, if they create unemployment and voter discontent.
The professional associations and guilds might care about the threat to their members’ livelihoods.
Educators will care about educating the workforce in the relevant skills to avoid those professional roles that are in decline.
Companies might care about capturing procurement savings as professionals rates are bid down. They will also be keen to sell to wider markets than just the business professionals alone.
Finally, is there a net cultural benefit? Professionals are incentivised to make a living first and expand/extend their art second. Amateurs the opposite. If the market blurs, will there be a faster development of the art?
Once we used to train for a lifelong profession. Now we reinvent ourselves almost daily, to keep pace with the speed of business change.
Career planning is like skating on ice. You can only go in a straight line for so long. And even then, the surface ahead is of uncertain depth.