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Skills with Limited Life-Cycle

Jobs are nothing but products and services with a limited life-cycle.

Many skills, know-how, competencies are certainly complex but have never been as volatile as now.

Five years and $ 200 000 spent to get an MBA or to become a lawyer! After then,  you discover in a business incubator that you wasted your time and your money. Legal departments have already invested in a Watson offspring, and smart investors skip these obsolete academic titles.

The Ambiguous Shift

Half of the 20th-century jobs will be replaced in the next years by Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Cyber-Physical Systems and Cyberbots. They are working better and faster than human brains because they do what humans can’t achieve as easily. They are learning by doing; they augment the knowledge base steadily by connecting with the others.

Half of the ten hottest jobs that didn’t exist a decade ago are already computerizable. Some of them offer even disrupting business models in their backend. Become a crowd-funder and take part at the development of an app that creates a responsive web design, whenever you want. With the new application, you get all the smart functionalities as online-shop, SEO, infographics, etc. faster, cheaper, smarter. You get more independent, performant and a by the way, a shareholder of a future million business. 

“Think positively and train for the future jobs 20!” This could be the slogan pinned on our dashboards. But among the Top Ten of the future jobs with the brightest future, there are some tasks that you wouldn’t like to do. They are not smart at all and badly paid.

The Tricky Time Machine

While political revolutions always pursue an aim, industrial revolutions don’t have any final purpose, they are work in progress. The digital revolution is accelerating the life-cycle of products, services, and skills. It reinvents itself at high-speed. That’s why the supporters of Josef Schumpeter’s creative destruction theory (1942) are wrong. The digital revolution destroys jobs faster than it creates new ones.

This accelerated change is only tricky for the working people who offer skills with a limited life-cycle. They will have to reinvent themselves too, if possible simultaneously with the changing technological environment.

The list is very long and unlimited. Everybody can check whether his job profile has a limited life-cycle or not. Nobody can say that he didn’t know about this paradigm shift. Don’t complain tomorrow, act today could be another nice slogan for reluctant mainstreamers.

It’s a challenge for low-skilled workers as well as for knowledge workers with academic levels. Knowledge without STEM and digital skills provides no longer a premium access to the labour market. The future low wage jobs that are not necessarily unskilled jobs and high wage jobs might have a limited life cycle. Data Analysts could have many reasons to stay tuned.

The New Superhuman Challenge: Train at the Speed of Change

To maintain their sustainable employability, skilled and unskilled workers will have to invest much time and some money in training for the rest of their working life that is open end. Retirement at 55 or 65 will be the privilege of some happy few.

This is the biggest challenge for many working people: training for future jobs. Who has to invest in complex and uncertain training? Workers or employers? How to train for jobs that don’t yet even exist. On-the-JobTraining requires a clear vision, creative design thinking, time and a monitoring of the ROI and ROE. Thus, many companies don’t train workers anymore.

The learning-by-doing remains the only alternative for jobs and skills with limited life-cycles. Where? Let’s be disruptive. Incubators are already the place where the young startups get their learning-by-doing input. For the working people in transition, the incubator solution could be very efficient too. Learning by sharing is a smart subtitle for Work 4.0.




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