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The Future Workforce

Dr. John Psarouthakis

Executive Editor

 

Let us turn once again to general workforce issues. In this case, however, I would like to concentrate my observations on the workforce of the year 2025 and beyond,.

The entry-level workforce for the challenges ahead is now in the early grades. To understand what the implications of that statement are for the future of manufacturing, one needs to examine, a few demographics of that seven to twelve year old group which is now struggling with the basic skills of grammar and math school.

For one thing, that age cohort is  smaller than previous groups of the past twenty years. There has been a decline in fertility among most groups in this country, and unless reversed will result in a much smaller group of youths ready to start work as we look at the next couple decades. Again, manufacturing will be competing against all the other employment possibilities, but this time for a shrinking supply of person power.

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“The Challenge of Rapid Change”: some thoughts for young aspiring executives / entrepreneurs

What is different about change in our era is not its presence but its pace — the rapidity with which ideas arise, are developed and applied, and the immediacy and degree of their impact on our lives.

Let me illustrate. It took almost 14 centuries to progress from the invention of paper to the Gutenberg printing press. It took just 4 centuries to move from Gutenberg’s hand-carved, hand-set type to the Linotype machine. And it took just over half a century from the first conception of the large-scale digital computer in 1937 to the wide use of personal computers by both business and individuals today. The Internet that has become indispensable to us all has taken a much less time span in its development and the changes it has generated could not be even dreamed of only a few years ago!

Despite progress in many aspects of civilization,

people have historically found change uncomfortable and even threatening. Change, especially rapid change, is often associated with disruption of stability. Since stability usually has connotations of security, dependability and order, which are perceived as positive, change tends to have connotations of insecurity, uncertainty and disorder, which can be viewed as negative. Examples of disruption due to change are all around us. A familiar instance in this state is job security. Until fairly recently, a job with some of our larger companies was considered a lifetime employment guarantee. Today many of these jobs have been shifted from such companies to their suppliers or other industrial sectors or sent overseas   due to technological and competitive changes.

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