Jiva Technology

As the year draws to a close

The end of any year provides ample opportunity to pause and reflect on what has come before and this year is no different. With the significant political turbulence we’ve seen in 2016 and 2017, one thing seems very, very clear: things will not be going back to the way they were. One consequence of the political earthquakes of the past 18 months seems to be receiving little attention, but could ultimately have a significant impact. With governments tied up with Brexit in the UK and ‘meeting the expectations of the political base’ in the US, pretty much any other ‘business as usual’ government activity has gone out of the window. If I could sum it up in a few words, it would be: ‘you’re on our own’.

Whether you’re still in education, just starting out or in the full flow of a career, I would be paying very close attention to the skills that are in demand and the skills that will be in demand in the future, because you shouldn’t expect a general rise in the economy to help you out. Its time to have a strategy and time to back that up by investing in the most important productive asset you have: you. It seems pretty clear to me that government is behind the curve on providing an education that meets the needs of the jobs market; you can see it in the productivity figures, you can see it in immigration figures and you can see it in the big skews between in-demand jobs and those where there’s an over supply. You could argue that its not the job of the education system to direct resources to where they’re most needed, but with the incredible fragmentation of jobs and careers over the past twenty years, its tough for school or university leavers to get a good grip on which way they should go.

I think there’s a place for advice from educational institutions and government, but if you’re in education or at the start of your career, its worth recognising the reality that increasingly the onus falls on you to think about this. A lot of people limit their thinking to what their parents did or close relations. Some fall into jobs by accident. But we have to accept that the world just got a whole lot more volatile and unpredictable, exactly at the time when politicians are focused on other things. You can complain about it or you can sit down and have a good hard think. We all know what will be important in twenty or fifty years time. Will you have the skills to fit in? Its the end of the year … a good time to think about it.

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