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jerryking : labour_markets   7

Past mistakes carry warnings for the future of work
May 21, 2019 | Financial Times | by SARAH O'CONNOR.

* Data can mislead unless combined with grittier insights on the power structures that underpin it.
* William Kempster, a master mason who worked on St Paul's Cathedral in the 18th century, left wage records that helped expose a flaw in our understanding of the past.

It is often said that we should learn from the mistakes of the past. But we can also learn from the mistakes we make about the past. Seemingly smooth data can mislead unless it is combined with a grittier insight into the structures, contracts and power relationships that underpin the numbers. On that score, economists and politicians who want to make sense of today’s labour market have an advantage over historians: it is happening right now, just outside their offices, in all its complexity and messiness. All they have to do is open the door
17th_century  18th_century  builders  contextual  data  datasets  developing_countries  economic_history  economists  freelancing  gig_economy  handwritten  historians  human_cloud_platforms  insights  labour_markets  London  messiness  mistakes  politicians  power_relations  power_structures  record-keeping  United_Kingdom  unstructured_data  wages  white-collar 
may 2019 by jerryking
Why Companies Are Failing at Reskilling
April 19, 2019 | WSJ | By Lauren Weber.

Investing in new technology can often be easier for companies than negotiating the organizational challenges that come with reskilling workers, said Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT.

“It’s one thing to invest in machine learning; it’s another to reinvent an organization or a business model,” he said. “Human capital is quantitatively a much bigger share of the capital in the economy than physical assets like plants, technology and equipment, and we understand it less well.”

Cumulatively, firms spend billions of dollars every year on technology devoted to digital transformation, but executives admit to confusion and uncertainty about the impact.....Other countries are being more proactive: Singapore and France recently started giving workers an annual allowance for approved career training. Through a program called Second Career in Ontario, Canada, low-skilled workers displaced from their jobs receive grants of up to 28,000 Canadian dollars to cover training in growing occupations, along with costs such as child care and transportation.

“Many countries we compete with see continual worker retraining as part of their economic strategy. The way we’ve traditionally treated education in this country is the government is responsible for your education until age 18, and after that it’s more of a private matter,”......How to break through the challenges, inefficiencies and resistance?.....employers and educators can do a better job of helping people find logical, reasonable career paths. Labor experts call this “skill adjacencies,” essentially diagnosing a person’s present skills and identifying promising careers that offer higher wages or growth in demand while requiring minimal investments of time and money in retraining.

“We need a Waze for your career,” ... the navigation app that offers real-time maps and driving directions. “You could look at jobs that are adjacent to your skillset or role, and with fairly light training, you can make a jump into a better job.”

The secret to successful reskilling, he says: keeping training short enough and achievable enough that workers can learn real skills and both they and employers get a return on investment.

Training Daze
Companies face a number of hurdles to successfully training workers for the skills needed in the evolving digital economy. Among the challenges:

* Data: Companies typically don’t have a clear view of their own employees’ talents. Few firms have repositories of data on a person’s skills, internal reputation, learning capacity, ambitions and interests.
* Speed: Converting a mechanical engineer into an electrical engineer, or a business analyst into a data scientist doesn’t necessarily happen in one quarter— or even a fiscal year—the cadences that shareholders understand. “Upskilling takes time. A hiring manager can usually find someone quicker outside the company,” even if it’s a more expensive contract worker.
* Worker engagement: If companies involved workers in decisions on new technology to implement, they would find that some already have the knowledge and others can be trained. “If we change that process, then we would see the potential of the workforce. We would see where the training needs are,”.
* Money: Employers have long shown a reluctance to invest the dollars needed to successfully retrain large swaths of staff, even when the economy is strong. In 2017, organizations spent around $1,300 per employee on training, up 8% from 2013, according to the Association for Talent Development. And as the economy declines, training budgets are typically slashed. One paper found a 28% decline in employer-funded training between 2001 and 2009.
* Unrealistic expectations: Society needs to recalibrate expectations for worker retraining. Laid-off coal miners probably won’t become data scientists, and few AT&T lineworkers will morph into software developers as the company transitions from a telephone company to a wireless and services business.
adjacencies  career_paths  digital_economy  Erik_Brynjolfsson  failure  future-proofing  labour_markets  layoffs  retraining  reskilling  skills  training 
april 2019 by jerryking
Canada must fill three gaps to reach its high-growth future - The Globe and Mail
VICTOR DODIG
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Nov. 27, 2015

While Canada is roundly – and rightly – envied for its solid economy and how it withstood the financial crisis, we have three gaps to fill if we are going to continue to prosper and be leaders among the advanced economies.

First, I believe we need to do a better job of building the intellectual capital and skills necessary to fuel innovation and execute in a modern economy.

Second, we need to ensure our innovative entrepreneurs are able to attract both the formation and sustainability capital necessary to commercialize new ideas into valuable products and services.

Third, we need to ensure that we build an innovative ecosystem that effectively encourages and nurtures that development......Actually, some troubling issues lie behind those positive numbers:

* We have a much lower proportion of graduates in the all-important STEM sectors – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – than 22 other OECD countries.
* Only about 20 per cent of our graduates are from those disciplines.
* Postsecondary graduates rank 19th of 21 in numeracy, 18th of 21 in literacy and 14th of 18 in problem-solving skills.

We’re talking about the very people and very skills we need to need to lead Canada in innovation and create the high-value jobs for the future.

In effect, a postsecondary education is simply not enough in today’s modern economy. Our students, by and large, are choosing an educational path geared toward acquiring credentials rather than skills acquisition and what the labour market needs.

So, what do we need to do?....
(1) promote education choices that match the needs of the job market.
(2) promote policies and models to support emerging industries that focus on creating solutions in the global supply chain as opposed to just building products.

Canadians are no strangers to discovery and innovation, but today’s innovation ecosystem is highly complex. Far too many Canadian high-tech startups get bought out before they have a chance to grow. They often sell out before attaining their true potential.

When small and mid-sized startups are sold, the country is weaker for it.

Why? Because the really smart innovators never stop. After a successful sale, many are back the next day looking for the next opportunity and dreaming of the next big discovery. And retaining highly paid head-office jobs in Canada rather than seeing them farmed out elsewhere will help spread those benefits to the broader economy.
Canada  Canadian  future  CIBC  CEOs  high-growth  innovation  innovation_policies  policy  labour_markets  start_ups  sellout_culture  STEM  intellectual_capital  think_threes  smart_people  overambitious  policymaking  head_offices  ecosystems  digital_economy  Victor_Dodig 
may 2016 by jerryking
Where are the jobs? Without good stats, it’s bad data in, bad policy out - The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jun. 11 2014

The latest revelations of Ottawa’s cost-cutting on labour market data come as no surprise. This Conservative government has a solid track record of sacrificing information for budget cuts. The long-form census, Statistics Canada and Canada’s environmental libraries have all fallen victim to the government’s red pen. Frustratingly, these funding cuts only seem to come to light after they’ve been carried out.
data  budgets  Conservative_Party  Canada  Don_Drummond  cost-cutting  labour_markets  Statistics_Canada  policymaking  budget_cuts 
june 2014 by jerryking
Managing Risk In the 21st Century
February 7, 2000 | Fortune | By Thomas A. Stewart.

Take risk management, a responsibility of the treasury function. Most risk managers haven't begun to cope with the real threats 21st-century companies face. Like the drunk in the old joke who looks for his lost keys under the streetlamp because the light is better there, risk management is dealing with visible classes of risk while greater, unmanaged dangers accumulate in the dark.

Risk--let's get this straight upfront--is good. The point of risk management isn't to eliminate it; that would eliminate reward. The point is to manage it--that is, to choose where to place bets, where to hedge bets, and where to avoid betting altogether. Though most risk-management tools--insurance, hedging, diversification, etc.--have to do with reducing loss, the goal is to maximize the gains from the risks you take (alpha? McDerment?)

So where should we look for these new risks?

--Your reputation or brand. When a bad batch of carbon dioxide in Coca-Cola sickened some Belgian children last summer, Coke's European operating income fell about $205 million, and Coca-Cola Enterprises, the bottler, incurred $103 million in costs. What about the cost to brand equity? One highly imperfect proxy: Coke's market capitalization fell $34 billion between June 30 and Sept. 30, 1999.

--Your business model. Asset-free, knowledge-intensive competition is to entrenched business models what the Panzer was to the Maginot Line. MP3s changed the music business more fundamentally than anything since radio. E*Trade, 18 years old, forced Merrill Lynch, 180, to change its way of doing business. Yet the new guys' very nimbleness creates its own risks, which traditional risk management can't help. You can protect the hard assets of a brick-and-mortar mall. Click-and-order stores are much more exposed: Cash flow is just about all they've got.

--Your human capital. The obvious human-capital risk is flight--especially in a tight labor market--but it's only part of a larger, subtler problem. When the CEO intones, "People are our most important asset," he's wrong, even if he's sincere. People are your most important investors. Your stock of human capital matters less than your flow of it. Any turbulence--and is there anything but turbulence these days?--can disrupt the flow, damaging your ability to attract human capital or people's desire to collaborate. Says Thomas Davenport, a partner at Towers Perrin: "Uncertainty is a real enemy of human capital. People rebalance their ROI by cutting back the investment."

--Your intellectual property. Many risks to intellectual property--theft, for example--can be dealt with in obvious, if sometimes onerous, ways. Here's the cutting-edge question: How do you manage risk in the process by which new intellectual property is created? How do you cope with the fact that the safer a given R&D project is, the less likely it is to be a big-money breakthrough? How do you balance the virtues of specialization against those of diversification?

--Your network. No company is an island, entire of itself; odds are your business is embedded in a network you do not control. It's not just that AOL might crash and cost you a few days' sales; your whole business may depend on tangible and intangible assets that belong to outsourcing partners, franchisees, sugar daddies, or standard-setters.
There are a couple of patterns here. First, an ever-greater part of business risk comes from sources your company can't own--people, partners, environments. Second, volatility isn't just a currency or stock market risk anymore. Labor markets, technologies, even business models oscillate at higher frequencies--their behavior more and more resembling that of financial markets.

In those patterns are hints of how to manage intellectual risks--which we'll examine next time.
risk-management  21st._century  risks  Thomas_Stewart  reputation  branding  business_models  financial_markets  talent_management  intellectual_property  networks  human_capital  turbulence  uncertainty  volatility  instability  nimbleness  labour_markets  accelerated_lifecycles  intellectual_assets  e-commerce  external_interaction  talent_flows  cash_flows  network_risk  proxies  specialization  diversification  unknowns  brand_equity  asset-light  insurance  hedging  alpha  Michael_McDerment 
june 2012 by jerryking

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