web analytics

Future Jobs

Written By: - Date published: 9:33 am, September 29th, 2015 - 14 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, economy, employment, jobs - Tags:

I’m going to get to reviewing Labour’s next 3 Future of Work papers, honest.

But in the meantime, I have something to share from Andrew McAfee.

Just a great Ted Talk on YouTube.

He’s looking at the opportunities and problems that technology is bringing us.  And he presents it very well.

Good anecdotes about Henry Ford 2 and unionist Walter Ruther – “Walter, how are you going to get these robots to pay union dues?” “Hey Henry, how are you going to get them to buy cars?”

He looks at the declining return to workers and the middle class over the last 15 years, with median income going down.  He looks at the split between stereotypical “Ted” – educated, professional, creative freed from drudge work to really express themselves – and “Bill”, a labourer, whose job is going to disappear if it hasn’t already. Bill is already working less, having more unhappy marriages and more likely to be in prison than he was a couple of decades back.

The answers: much better education aimed at creativity, invest in infrastructure, and something like a guaranteed minimum income.

But give it a watch, there’s much more in there.  It’s not claiming to have all the answers, but it’s a discussion we need to be having – and I’m glad Labour are interested in this stuff with their Future of Work Commission.

14 comments on “Future Jobs ”

  1. Detrie 1

    Great video. Another TED talk a while back shown below that expanded upon the slow elimination of the middle [buying] class and growing inequality.

    No doubt new technology can certainly help the rich more than the growing poor. But as both speakers say, if you are in the business of producing goods, if the potential middle class buyers are disappearing through lack of jobs or income, then it’s all for nothing… A pity the plutocrats and industry leaders can’t see this simple truth. Henry Ford did.

  2. maui 2

    But computers were supposed to leave us with the paperless office and out of work. Instead we’re working longer hours and I personally can’t see much evidence of technology taking peoples jobs. I think this is just american hype. Showing that we could keep growing the economy exponentially with the use of robots denies peak oil and all the other resource problems were having. A robot labourer would be the worst worker out there, give anyone a spade and they would make it look silly.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      As a professional automation engineer I’d advise that the vast majority of automation already in existence doesn’t look anything like a robot. That’s 99.99% of it.

      The conventional idea most people have of a robot is a less than useful anthropomorphism. And no you wouldn’t use one to dig a hole.

      But you might want to consider this:


    • David 2.2

      “I personally can’t see much evidence of technology taking peoples jobs”

      You clearly are not looking very hard. It’s happening everywhere from accounting to farm sheds. Hell, many manufacturing jobs are gone via automation, and the days of manufacturing being a source of mass employment are long gone.

      “A robot labourer would be the worst worker out there, give anyone a spade and they would make it look silly.”

      Spend some time on a mine site where the excavators and haul trucks are all automated.

      • lprent 2.2.1

        The most obvious recent (at least for a earth sciences major) historical example is the abrupt disappearance of almost all clerical staff from the 1950s to the present. Jobs all directly killed by computing machines.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      But computers were supposed to leave us with the paperless office and out of work. Instead we’re working longer hours and I personally can’t see much evidence of technology taking peoples jobs.

      I posted this one a couple of days ago but it fits here:

      This is not the story we are told. Instead we read story after story like this latest one from the Guardian, claiming that 140 years of job creation show that jobs will always be created. And yet the ongoing trend of such articles is to mostly ignore the potentially unnecessary nature of the jobs themselves, the level of skill involved to perform them, and the lower pay they can command than the jobs they are replacing. Take for example the following excerpt:

      Their conclusion is unremittingly cheerful: rather than destroying jobs, technology has been a “great job-creating machine”. Findings by Deloitte such as a fourfold rise in bar staff since the 1950s or a surge in the number of hairdressers this century suggest to the authors that technology has increased spending power, therefore creating new demand and new jobs.

      So there’s no need to worry about technological unemployment, because there will always be a need for more bar-backs and haircuts? Is that bar-back better off no longer having a manufacturing job paying $40,000 per year and instead having a job paying $20,000 per year in the service industry? Is that an important job to the human species, bringing empty glasses from Point A to Point B? Is the job entirely voluntary or done out of need for income? And is this a job that just can’t possibly be done by a machine, or outright eliminated? Ever? Is the service industry really safe?

      So, what’s actually happening are that the machines are taking the interesting, well paid jobs, and we’re having to make do with the low paid Bullshit jobs and even those will be going away over the next few years.

      Showing that we could keep growing the economy exponentially with the use of robots denies peak oil and all the other resource problems were having.

      Showing that we could keep growing the economy exponentially with the use of robots denies peak oil and all the other resource problems were having.
      Robots don’t have anything to do with Peak Oil because we don’t need oil to run robots – just electricity and that can be (and should be) produced by renewable means. The only thing that’s affected by Peak Oil is cars and we need to get rid of those anyway so as to try and stave off catastrophic climate change.

      A robot labourer would be the worst worker out there, give anyone a spade and they would make it look silly.

      Don’t kid yourself. In a few years an automatic digging machine really will dig the hole faster and more accurately than a human and it won’t cut the cables/water mains/sewers while it does it. Give it another few years and that digging machine will even drive itself to the digging site.

      • maui 2.3.1

        I have a problem with the automated digging machine even though it’s not literally fossil fuel powered, it’s still made up of complex computing and electrical components that all require fossil fuels to be made in offshore factories. We would also be relying on there being stable global trade for those parts to be made and then shipped here, and then there’s the issue of replacement parts being available in a post-carbon world.

        There’s also the issue of declining complexity in societies that have used up their fuel sources. We’ve clearly hit the downhill slide (reaching peak oil), it’s just hard to see technology sliding down at this point, but I think it has to soon.

        • Draco T Bastard

          it’s still made up of complex computing and electrical components that all require fossil fuels to be made in offshore factories.

          No they don’t. Nothing, quite literally nothing, requires fossil fuels to be made. And if we bothered with the investment we could easily make all of those parts here for the same costs as they’re made elsewhere. In fact, it would cost less as we have somewhat higher environmental protections.

          • maui

            I must have missed the boat somewhere then.. I thought that most consumeable products that our economy thrives on are made using large amounts of energy sourced from oil.

            • Draco T Bastard

              I thought that most consumeable products that our economy thrives on are made using large amounts of energy sourced from oil.

              That doesn’t mean that they have to be. Renewably generated energy works exactly the same way and we can produce enough power from renewables to replace fossil fuels. For some strange reason, despite renewables always being cheaper than fossil fuels, we aren’t.

  3. RedLogix 3

    I read this alternative view yesterday:

    In an influential paper this month, Morgan Stanley economists Charles Goodhart, Manoj Pradhan and Pratyancha Pardeshi argue that we are on the verge of a global turnaround in wages. For the past 30 years, business profits have surged on the back of a demographic glut of labour: the babyboomers of the west augmented by the newly urbanised workforce of the global south, plus millions of women brought into the labour force.

    Now the catch-up effects of urbanisation will peter out, they say – and, at the same time, the falling birth rate will create a shortage of labour, triggering a rise in the bargaining power – and wages –of workers. That, in turn, will trigger the rollout of innovations such as McDonald’s touchscreens across the economy. Capital and labour will rebalance; the surge in business-profit rates that happened after 1989 will subside; and Thomas Piketty’s dire predictions about 21st century inequality will be disproved.


    I suspect the authors are a tad optimistic about how easily global capital will relinquish power in the face of this trend – but there is still a valid point in here.

  4. Gabby 4

    There’s plenty of cheap labour on the way from the Middle East and Africa.

  5. Bill 5

    There is no ‘Future of Work’

    Yes, automation will do away with low pay/low skill jobs. No, people won’t suddenly up and become tech whizzies or a part of the bloated middle management workplace bureaucracy.

    People will be shed from the economy – excluded. Remember the ‘good old days’ of the 60s and 70s when it was only large numbers of black people living on that continent of Africa that scrabbled around in the dirt? Okay, that’s not true. The same was true for many Asians and others, but you get my point. That’s our future.

    It’s going to be ‘white’ and right here. It’s already happening. Give it another few decades and if you don’t have private health cover here in NZ – then hey. And if you didn’t somehow manage to hang on in there in some reasonably well paying career that meant you could send your kids to school – then hey.

    And because ‘falling revenue’ – no welfare state to be speaking of and an ever more rapacious yet distant market in terms of providing affordable products (food etc) to ever increasing numbers of us.

    Sometimes I’m glad I’m getting on….

  6. millsy 6

    To be perfectly honest, I think in about 10-20 years time, most of use will find employment cleaning up after the rich (and upper-middle classes). ie domestic service.

    Seeing as most of the jobs that provided people with a spring board to the middle class have been automated or shipped offshore, we will probably end up as maids and butlers to the 1%.

    Cactus Kate a few years ago suggested that this should happen, only each household imports a filipino maid/housekeeper.

    If you look at it, our young people are being steered towards trades, hospo, cleaning etc. Perfect for serving the 1%.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Environment Court Judge appointed
    Prudence Steven QC, barrister of Christchurch has been appointed as an Environment Judge and District Court Judge to serve in Christchurch, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Steven has been a barrister sole since 2008, practising in resource management and local government / public law.    She was appointed a Queen’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Government moves on climate promises
    The Government is delivering on its first tranche of election promises to take action on climate change with a raft of measures that will help meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon neutral target, create new jobs and boost innovation. “This will be an ongoing area of action but we are moving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Jump starting research careers
    The Government is investing up to $10 million to support 30 of the country’s top early-career researchers to develop their research skills. “The pandemic has had widespread impacts across the science system, including the research workforce. After completing their PhD, researchers often travel overseas to gain experience but in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Project protects jobs and nature
    A Waitomo-based Jobs for Nature project will keep up to ten people employed in the village as the tourism sector recovers post Covid-19 Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “This $500,000 project will save ten local jobs by deploying workers from Discover Waitomo into nature-based jobs. They will be undertaking local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister Shaw speaks with U.S. Presidential Envoy John Kerry
    Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw spoke yesterday with President Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. “I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak with Mr. Kerry this morning about the urgency with which our governments must confront the climate emergency. I am grateful to him and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today announced three diplomatic appointments: Alana Hudson as Ambassador to Poland John Riley as Consul-General to Hong Kong Stephen Wong as Consul-General to Shanghai   Poland “New Zealand’s relationship with Poland is built on enduring personal, economic and historical connections. Poland is also an important ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Major redevelopment of Wainuiomata High School underway
    Work begins today at Wainuiomata High School to ensure buildings and teaching spaces are fit for purpose, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. The Minister joined principal Janette Melrose and board chair Lynda Koia to kick off demolition for the project, which is worth close to $40 million, as the site ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New expert group appointed to advise Government on Oranga Tamariki
    A skilled and experienced group of people have been named as the newly established Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board by Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis today. The Board will provide independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children across three key areas of Oranga Tamariki: relationships with families, whānau, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 vaccine slated for possible approval next week
    The green light for New Zealand’s first COVID-19 vaccine could be granted in just over a week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today. “We’re making swift progress towards vaccinating New Zealanders against the virus, but we’re also absolutely committed to ensuring the vaccines are safe and effective,” Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New ACC Board members announced.
    The Minister for ACC is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to join the Board of ACC on 1 February 2021. “All three bring diverse skills and experience to provide strong governance oversight to lead the direction of ACC” said Hon Carmel Sepuloni. Bella Takiari-Brame from Hamilton ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Economic boost for Southland marae
    The Government is investing $9 million to upgrade a significant community facility in Invercargill, creating economic stimulus and jobs, Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene have announced.  The grant for Waihōpai Rūnaka Inc to make improvements to Murihiku Marae comes from the $3 billion set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago