New tech opens new doors
During the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway a few years ago, a sign greeting visitors in the Omaha airport read: “The 10 best jobs in 2020 haven’t been invented yet.”
In Canada, intellectual property professor Daniel Gervais, with Vanderbilt Law School, has written that our future economic growth will depend partly on new ideas and business models, such as online games, high technology and green technology. But we’ll still depend heavily on developing agriculture and natural resources, although not as much from the land itself, as from how we exploit it using technology to produce, extract and transform the resource.
Concerning resources, Alberta Investment Management Corp. chief executive Leo de Bever concurs: “I think we’re on the verge of the biggest change in energy technology since 1900, when we shifted from wood to gasoline and coal to electricity.
“There are all sorts of technologies dealing with CO2 that could kick in over the next 10 years.” A common thread running through most significant jobs of the future is technology, both conceptual and applied. That is going to require workers with more sophisticated and current skills.
“We’re going to have a different kind of growth, growth that is more services oriented than materials oriented, because the stuff that you can touch, after a while, starts to deteriorate,” de Bever said.
Tania Corbett, senior consultant with The Hay Group human resources firm, says their study called Leadership 2030 Megatrends revealed a handful of factors that will influence what sorts of jobs will be created in the next 10 years.
“Working with the oil and gas companies, what they’re looking for are people who can be more creative and more innovative in doing the engineering. The oil and gas industry for a long time has used the same sorts of technology, and the oilsands really change the game.”
Indeed, the move to in situ production has mushroomed, just as new fracking techniques have also changed the industry.
“Related to that, there’s this huge increased focus on the environment, it’s growing exponentially. In Alberta we’re going to have huge growth opportunity in jobs related to environmental custodianship.”