An eye to the future: Will your child find a job when he graduates from college?

By on December 30, 2012

Parents told us that to succeed in life, we must go to school, finish college, and get a good job. Period.

That’s the basic idea parents taught children generation after generation.It worked for years until decades later when the global economy collapsed, putting people including college educated individuals with skills, out of jobs. To this day, the number of people who cannot find jobs continue to rise.The academic scholars, business and government leaders are faced with an enormous challenge. What went wrong? Innovation.

Over the past thirty years innovation has become more and more significant than assumptions that economic growth is a result of the interplay between capital and labor. Economies have become more integrated and inter-dependent. The volume of trade has grown turning developing countries into industrialized economies.

When the advanced economies shifted from making products to service sector in the 1950s, the number of manufacturing jobs declined while high paying jobs increased in the service industry. From the late 1990s to the present, it became apparent that knowledge technology is the new creator of jobs. Knowledge workers such as economists, engineers, scientists, computer scientists, chemists, mathematicians, geographers, physicists, sociologists, psychologists, and cognitivists are perceived to play a significant role in driving the 21st century economy.

Because of the evolution, there are around one billion people in the developing nations in the global labor market, all competing for a place in the sun. Without appropriate strategies, the serious gap between the supply of skilled workers and the number of people with limited skills threatens to even grow wider.

Investment on research and development and strong intellectual property laws are some of the reasons why the United States is successful in innovation. For example, the invention of the world’s first microprocessor by American engineers Marcian Hoff and Stanley Mazor designed by Japanese engineer Masatoshi Shima and Italian physicist Federico Faggi, pioneered industries that created record wealth and generation millions of high-paying jobs.

Who are currently the global players? The World Economic Forum reported recently that the top 10 most competitive economies in the world are Switzerland, Singapore, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, USA, UK, Hong Kong, and Japan.

Japan heavily funds Research and Development, hence the availability of knowledge workers supporting its innovation policy. Its high value-added goods and services remain very competitive in the global market for innovation and business sophistication which ranks among the advanced economies.

What jobs will be needed in the future and how the labor market responds to future job demands will decide the future of the global economy.

Are schools preparing children for future jobs?

With the shift in the learning paradigm, children are introduced to a new education approach. The key difference between the old and the new system of education is that the past was centered on curriculum and the present is learner-centric. The new education system identifies the best way a student can learn based on an approach unique to the individual to achieve the goal.

Schools today are changing their focus to an inquiry or project that makes learners more engaged and highly motivated to study real-world topics and highly motivated learners to study real-world topics in depth.

Teachers are expected to have higher competencies in constantly advancing their own professional knowledge as well as that of their profession. Students access information more rapidly by simply Googling information on the Internet. Due to this, children’s routine cognitive skills are digitized, making them more search engine-dependent. Schools are now more focused on job-relevant education to empower students with core competencies in mathematics, science, and problem-solving. They are taught to be lifelong learners, manage and process complex concepts that computers cannot take away from them.   Who leads the pack

Global Statistics
– College graduates increased by 245
– 40% foreign born workers contributed to labor force growth in advanced economies
– 75M unemployed young workers 15-24 years old in 2010

– 3.4B projected global labor force (up from 2.9 billion today)
– 39-40M potential shortage of college educated workers in 2020
– 45 million potential shortage of workers with secondary education qualified to work in labor-intensive manufacturing services in developing economies

Turning your preschooler’s weak points into strengths

Not all kids are the same. Some are good at logic and solve a simple mathematical equation while others struggle with it. Some are quicker than others at understanding concepts based on lines, shapes, forms, and colors they see. To prepare kids to do well in areas where they seem weak, be a more engaged parent by trying these strategies at home.

Weak point: Good in math, poor in vocabulary.

Try this: Rewire your math wiz kid. Get him interested in learning tools like word games or age-appropriate crossword puzzles. Try giving him a set of words and ask him to classify them into different groups. Classifying puts his logical part of the brain to work while remembering words at the same time.

Weak point: Good reader, poor in math

Try this: Give him mathematical problems in words. When he comes across a word that he does not understand, get him to look up the meaning. It does help when the words appeal to his interests. Look to whatever appeals to him. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, for example: Snow White and the dwarves went to the forest without Sneezy and Dopey. How many dwarves are left? Customizing equations according to age and interest is effective.

Weak point: Creative, good with arts. She loves to make up lyrics to a song but sows no interest in science.

Try this: Creative thinkers are also sensitive. Read a classic children’s book like “The Snowman” that will appeal to her sensitive nature. Challenge her inquiring mind by asking why Mr. Snowman said goodbye. Later, experiment with liquid to solid and vice versa.

About Ana Dobbs