The number of technology-based start-ups surged 47 percent in the last decade. These firms still account for a relatively small share of all businesses, but they have an outsized impact on economic growth, because they provide better-paying, longer-lasting jobs than other start-ups, and they contribute more to innovation, productivity, and competitiveness.
A massive influx of computer science majors in Colorado and across the country is overwhelming college and university classrooms as students opt to gain the skills required to fill nearly 500,000 open jobs in cybersecurity, data science and machine learning.
Given the accelerating pace of technological advances, there’s a good chance that a job that is easy to train for in a few months could be automated in a few years. The World Economic Forum suggests that 65 percent of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in jobs that don’t exist yet. There will be an increasing need to take our fundamental skills and adapt them to new settings.
Plenty of the industry’s best have gotten there without a college degree. But highly skilled talent is still one of the key ingredients to success for tech companies today and for the foreseeable future. Sourcing that talent is getting harder and harder, as the number of job openings increases while the number of qualified candidates decreases.
The technology-driven world in which we live is a world filled with promise but also challenges. Cars that drive themselves, machines that read X-rays, and algorithms that respond to customer-service inquiries are all manifestations of powerful new forms of automation.
Economic think tank McKinsey Global Institute forecast changes in demand for different kinds of labor across 45 countries as technologies improve to perform physical or office tasks. One key result: Robots pose a more immediate and disruptive threat to the US middle class than they do to middle-income workers in less developed countries like India.
A Georgetown University study suggests 65 percent of all jobs in the U.S. will require more than a high school education by 2020. Hence it is clear that much work needs to be done to narrow the educational achievement and economic opportunity gaps in the U.S. In addition, there is the sobering statistic that only 9 percent of low-income students earn a Bachelor’s degree by the age of 24, in contrast to 77 percent of their higher-income peers.
In recent decades, the diffusion of digital technology into nearly every business and workplace, also known as “digitalization,” has been remaking the U.S. economy and the world of work. The “digitalization of everything” has at once increased the potential of individuals, firms, and society while also contributing to a series of troublesome impacts and inequalities, such as worker pay disparities across many demographics, and the divergence of metropolitan economic outcomes.
President Trump’s rhetoric about the decline of the working class blames trade, immigration and the outsourcing of American jobs overseas for the decline of the U.S. manufacturing sector. But the bigger culprit is rarely acknowledged by politicians or the media: automation. Nearly 9 in 10 jobs that have disappeared since 2000 were lost to automation, according to a study by Ball State University.
A relatively simple way to boost the economy and make America even greater is to fix a patent system gone awry. In recent years, major changes to intellectual property policy by Congress, the courts and the executive branch have thrown the system out of whack, deterring inventors from the kind of innovation that creates jobs and growth.