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Topic: PART IV: The Jobs of Tomorrow
Replies: 1   Last Post: Aug 31, 2000 7:28 PM

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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
PART IV: The Jobs of Tomorrow
Posted: Aug 31, 2000 1:43 PM
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From Rethinking Schools, Winter, 1999/2000, Volume 14, Number 2, p. 8.

The Jobs of Tomorrow

By Barbara Miner

In his keynote speech to the National Education Summit, IBM chairman
and CEO, Louis Gerstner Jr., made several statements that were
essential to his analysis. These statements, in turn, were widely
reported in the media. One of the bedrocks of Gerstner's analysis is
that the jobs of tomorrow will be in high-skill, high-wage
occupations. "Jobs that today required low-to-moderate skills - and
pay low-to-moderate wages - are in decline, while demand soars for
highly skilled applicants who command higher pay," Gerstner said.

Employment Projections 1996-2006 show a different story. In fact,
jobs merely requiring short or moderate on-the-job training, such as
clerical and service jobs, will account for more than half of all
jobs in 2006.

"Employers will hire more than three times as many cashiers as
engineers," columnist Richard Rothstein noted in an article in the
Oct. 27 New York Times. "They will need more than twice as many
food-counter workers, waiters, and waitresses than all the systems
analysts, computer engineers, mathematicians, and database
administrators combined. We will be hiring more nurses, but even more
janitors and maids."

One of the sources of confusion is that while professions such as
computer engineering will increase percentagewise, the number is
relatively small to begin with. So, as Rothstein notes, one can
proclaim that computer engineering and science employment "will
increase by a whopping 100% while food service grows by only 11%. But
computer science is a relatively small field, so new positions
generate rapid growth rates. There are more waitresses today, so
smaller percentage growth yields more new jobs."

It's also important to realize that high-skilled jobs are subject to
a fluctuating supply and demand that has more to do with corporate
profits than education - as Gerstner well realizes.

Gerstner came to IBM in 1993 (his pervious corporate post was head of
RJR Nabisco, where he helped oversee the Joe Camel campaign which
made Camels the most prominent cigarette among children.) In line
with the corporate downsizing then sweeping the nation, he fired
90,000 highly trained employees, about one-third of IBM's workforce.
"That was in addition to the other 183,000 quality employees that IBM
fired before Gerstner arrived," notes Clinton Boutwell in his book
Shell Game: Corporate America's Agenda for Schools (Phi Delta Kappa,

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244

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