[LI] Nature of the job market & future of jobs

Three different items posted on LinkedIn, which relate to the the nature of the job search, power imbalance between workers & employers, & the impacts of intelligent automation on the future number & kinds of jobs.

What are the biggest career mistakes to avoid? Dandan Zhu, Quora, 16 Aug 2017 (posted August 2017)

What does headhunter Dandan Zhu’s incidentally dire characterization of the job search say about the paradigm we have built?: “like war”; “song & dance”; “NO rules”; “every man and woman for themselves”; “manipulate”; “maneuver around”; “psychopaths and liars sometimes get the BEST jobs and offers” …

(my response to reply by author)

Thanks, Dandan Zhu, for engaging in this discussion. I respect you for what you do. At the same time, I cannot agree that the system is optimal, if one looks at the whole system. This discussion began with observation of the terms you used to describe aspects of the job search which are quite the opposite of wonderful.

Add to that aspects of recruitment and job searches that clearly function less than ideally (some of which I’ve discussed elsewhere), as well as wider economic trends (beneath the positive numbers on the surface) like growing inequality and people leaving the job force, and it is hard to see the system as optimal.

Apart from that I do agree with much of what you say, but would add that challenging mindsets etc. also includes looking critically at the way the system functions, and how it might and indeed should be revamped. This will be necessary anyway with the impact of technology, but it is something that we can either try to master in positive ways, or leave to chance and less ideal outcomes.

(my response to reply by another reader)

My point wasn’t that Dandan “made the rules” but that the terms she used reflected some problems. How else to understand a system where job seeking can be described as war or song & dance? Is this the best way select employees, or should these perspectives be validated? In other words, “the rules” from the point of view of this paradigm emphasize certain aspects of human nature and not others – it is not inevitable that it be this way. Dandan may be practical in coaching clients in this light, but that does not make the system optimal or sustainable.

It’s time to balance the power between workers and employers,” Lawrence H. Summers, Washington Post, 3 September 2017 (posted September 2017)

Underlying the question of how advanced technology might be developed to work for (at the behest of) job seekers, in a system where virtually all development including of “AI” serves the HR or job site needs, is a concern with balance. “Balance” as in economic justice and equity. Lawrence H. Summers approaches this larger issue from another side, that of wages and the role of labor unions.

Are we on the brink of a jobless future? Paul Solman interviews several people (video), PBS NewsHour, 31 August 2017 (posted September 2017)

Vivek Wadhwa interviewed by Paul Solman in a segment entitled “Are we on the brink of a jobless future?” Interesting perspectives. But not so sure about the kinds of jobs for some that Jerry Kaplan sees increasing from greater discretionary income of others, nor how the latter achieve such under automation (after 6:40 mark).


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