Future Shape

Many want to reassure us that the current slump in wage growth is just a temporary thing.  Yet despite rising business profits and apparently low unemployment, many are taking less money home (per hour worked) than they were in the past.

Limited wage growth and increasing job insecurity – I think – will be the new norm.

For mine, we are on the cusp of major workplace changes. A lot of the existing jobs aren’t really needed anymore.  Many more jobs can be done, and often better, by less people.  The hollowing out of the ‘middle class’ is set to continue, if not, accelerate.  There will be more lower paying jobs.

Too Orwellian?

No!  Just look in the mirror, we all are doing this to ourselves, every day and increasingly 24/7.  Don’t blame ‘Big Brother’, we are giving it up to the ‘algorithms’, whether it be via digitalisation, automation, robotics or the internet of things.

The table below outlines Australian jobs by major household income segments.  The past are facts and whilst the forecasts are mine they are based on emerging trends and my somewhat extensive research and interest on this topic.

Distribution of Australian jobs by income segment

Income segment Last 25 years Today Next 25 years
High 30% 25% 20%
Middle 50% 40% 30%
Low 20% 35% 50%
Total 100% 100% 100%

A recent US study showed that 47% of existing jobs could be obsolete by 2030 and the demand for some 40% of the other remaining jobs are likely be halved over the next decade.  Most of these job losses are expected in the higher and especially middle-income wage brackets.

Looking forward the jobs that will grow in demand will be those than cannot be done better and/or more cost efficiently by an algorithm.  Such jobs will most likely be lower paying ones.

These changes will have a profound effect on the future shape of cities.

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