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Future careers: Knowledge explosion is key

sixtyfivepercent.jpgCareer issues are hot! And one of my favorite ways to open a keynote or executive session is by quoting from an Australian study, which indicated that sixty-five percent of the kids who are in preschool today will work in jobs or careers that don’t yet exist.

I passionately believe this to be true: and I’ve seen the trend occurring in countless professions and industries.

This week, I keynoted a Career Day event at Capitol One in Richmond, Virginia ; the focus was on the rapid emergence of new careers, and the rapid evolution of existing skills. My message, in looking at the future career opportunities, was that there’s nothing but upside, as long as people keep reinventing their skill set.

The topic of the future of careers is a big one these days; I’m being called into many organizations and events to talk about the issue, particularly in the context of recent economic trends. Some of these events have been local economic development conferences. In one talk in January, I spoke to an audience of executives and educators in an auto-sector city ; a group of people caught up in the throes of economic restructuring and turmoil.

Talk about an audience in the midst of challenge! Yet when you are in that type of economic bubble, it can be hard to see the future career opportunities that do exist. That’s why I didn’t focus on the short term economic turmoil, but instead, on the real, practical trends that are defining the careers of tomorrow.

Many sectors of the global economy: and in particular, the manufacturing and financial sectors, are being hit hardest by the US recession, the sub-prime meltdown, and global competition.

The auto-town event got covered in the local paper: and the story ended up being reprinted throughout the Canadian press, including in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Montreal. One of the key observations I made in the article: “We have to figure out how we can continue to move up the knowledge ladder because there’s going to be a massive shortfall in specialized skills because of the rapid growth of knowledge.

That’s an important issue to think about, and the article is well worth a read.


  • Read Knowledge Explosion Key to the Future
  • Read Global Economic Trends: An Interview with Jim Carroll
  • The reality of future trends: grab the What Comes Next trends overview

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