Jobs Techonomy Events

Was It Just a Dream?

The American Dream—that hard work could lead anyone to prosperity, success and upward mobility—feels increasingly irrelevant for a growing and frighteningly large group of Americans. What will people do to attain economic and social security? Will the middle class survive? What new policies and strategies could we devise to help keep the American Dream alive? Carol Goss of Harvard's Advanced Leadership Initiative, Indiegogo's Danae Ringelmann, Elizabeth Shuler of the AFL-CIO, and Philip Zelikow of the Markle Foundation tackled these and other questions in a discussion moderated by David Kirkpatrick that kicked off our Sept. 16 Techonomy Detroit conference.   More

Government Jobs Techonomy Events

Why Institutions Need to Wake Up to a New American Dream

(From left) David Kirkpatrick, Carol Goss, Danae Ringelmann, Elizabeth Shuler, and Philip Zelikow

Philip Zelikow says we’re on the cusp of a change “comparable to 1880 or 1890 when the economy was about to fundamentally transform. This should be a really bright era.” Yet Gallup polls show that Americans are more pessimistic about the future than ever. And even a Techonomy panel discussion offered a less-than-optimistic view of the future for the middle class.   More

Cities Jobs Techonomy Events

Techonomy Detroit 2014: Full Video

Techonomy Detroit brings together leaders and thinkers from business, technology, government, and academia to better understand how to move the U.S., and the world, into an urbanized, technologized, inclusive future. Detroit’s travails symbolize issues faced by many American cities and to some extent the entire country. But this is also a city energetically seeking to revive itself. The birthplace of assembly-line manufacturing and technologized transportation, Detroit was once the innovation engine of the U.S. economy. There is no better place for a conversation on how our national priorities must change in a technologized economy.   More

Jobs

Rebuilding the American Dream in a Global, Networked Economy

(Image via Shutterstock)

Despite strides in jobs and the economy, Americans remain pessimistic about their future, according to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Three-quarters of respondents said that they are not confident that their children’s generation will be better off than their own. More than half reportedly believe that a growing income gap between the rich and poor undermines the American dream. The fact is that technology and globalization are changing our way of life. While enriching us in many ways, these transformative forces have eliminated secure jobs and eroded economic security for millions.   More

Jobs Manufacturing

People Are Still More Adaptable Than Robots

The Baxter robot from Rethink Robotics may not displace as many middle-class jobs as feared.

The media and pundits have exaggerated the threat robots present to human workers' livelihood, claims labor market scholar David Autor. Reporting on ideas Autor presented at a recent bankers' conference, New York Times writer Neil Irwin sums up the argument: "Even as computers have gotten better at rote tasks, they have progressed far less in applying common sense."   More

Jobs

eBay’s Devin Wenig on Tech’s Destruction … and Humanism

"While tech is sometimes thought of as a sector or a niche, it's increasingly clear that tech is the economy and tech is the transformative force," says Devin Wenig, president of eBay's global e-commerce business. As tech reinvents industries, jobs, and processes, and changes how people work and act, companies that want to succeed must learn to accept creative destruction. "Any time you go through a disruption, you end up with winners and losers," said Wenig, who joined us at a Techonomy dinner salon in San Francisco. "But I do believe it's a positive-sum game," he added. And he says that in this game, humans, not just machines, are winning. "I don't think the world coming is all full of drones and robots.... It can be amazingly humanistic," Wenig said.   More

Jobs

Is Inequality an Unavoidable Consequence of Innovation?

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The economics of innovation and its impact on society was the theme of the annual economists' pow-wow in Toronto last weekend, the Institute for New Economic Thinking conference. And there was no presumption that it is, on the whole, a plus. Authoritative speakers at the three-day conference included former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and James Heckman, former co-CEO of Research In Motion Jim Balsillie, and Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane. But the event's opening keynote featured a panel of experts who explored the duality inherent in innovations that create new inventions, products, sources of demand, and markets while simultaneously imposing job losses and "significant distributional consequences for society."   More

Bio & Life Sciences Government Jobs

Techonomic Top 5: Federal Inefficiency, Chromosome Breakthrough, Virtual Employers, and More

Andrew Hessel (l) with Stewart Brand and Eri Gentry at Techonomy 2013 in Tucson, Ariz.

Every week we spotlight techonomic happenings on the Web and beyond, picking people, companies, and trends that exemplify tech’s ever-growing role in business and society. Here’s what’s got our attention.   More

Jobs

The Online, Freelance, Globalizing World of Work

(Image via Shutterstock)

The monthly ups and downs of American employment as recorded by the Department of Labor don’t track the full story of modern jobs. The agency doesn’t take into account U.S. freelancers. This is a major omission. There are 70 percent more self-identified independent or freelance workers (17.7 million) than unemployed professionals (10.5 million). While the most recent report eased concerns about the jobless growth (the economy added 175,000 new jobs this February), we will continue to see the transformation of the way we work and hire. Many of today’s traditional office jobs will soon be a relic of the 20th century.   More

Jobs

These Companies Are Giving Virtual Workers a Home

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Last year we profiled Web engineering company 10up (which developed this website). Aside from its near-fanatical devotion to all things WordPress, one of the hallmarks of 10up is that it’s a distributed company—its 60-plus full-time developers and project managers live and work all over the country. That model is catching on, with “virtual” companies becoming more and more common in the tech sector. Some, like Mozilla, Basecamp, and Upworthy, are fast-growing software or media companies. Others are developers, marketers, digital designers, or online learning platforms. “Web based” best describes all of the companies that made a list compiled by job search site FlexJobs (which has the distinction of appearing on its own list), but each blend offline and online collaboration in different ways and to varying degrees.   More

Techonomy 13 Jobs Techonomy Events Video

The Clash of Generations Reshapes the Workplace

Speakers Nadira A. Hira a Writer/Host/Commentator, Doreen Lorenzo of Quirky, Jim Stikeleather of Dell Inc, and moderator Zachary Karabell of RiverTwice Research discuss the balance of new and old generations together in the evolving workplace.   More

Jobs Techonomy Events

Why Millennials Won’t Become Corporate Serfs

Millennials may be happier defining and creating their own work environment. (Photo via Shutterstock)

Whatever the recession rendered Millennials—cautious, cynical, underemployed, overeducated, boomerang kids who couldn’t be more grateful that debtors’ prisons have gone out of style—most of all, it made us aware. It showed us just how disloyal corporate America can be, no matter how loyal its staffers have been. It proved that security doesn’t exist, however prestigious your background or business card. And it forced us to interrogate the motives that had pushed our economy past its breaking point—to ask ourselves what work ought to be and mean and yield.   More

Jobs Learning

The Public Image of the Female Programmer

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The Labor Department has estimated that there will be 1.4 million job openings for computer-related occupations this decade. On the heels of less-than-stellar jobs numbers, this should be welcome news to millennials planning their career paths. But, as Catherine Rampell wrote in this week’s New York Times Magazine, few young women are choosing the computer science field, despite its potential for high incomes and flexibility. Why is this? Rampell suggests that computer science has a “public-image problem,” and there aren’t enough narratives of successful women in the field.   More

Global Tech Jobs

Creating Great Employees (Who Happen to be Autistic)

A Specialisterne student with ASD works with a Lego Mindstorm Robot.

Thirty-year-old Tobias Ussing admits that his Asperger syndrome, on the milder end of the autism spectrum, is “a lot to work with.” Despite loads of motivation and experience, finding a permanent job has been a challenge, even though he is a highly capable computer programmer who began coding in the 1980s on a Commodore 64. Specialisterne, a company founded in his native Denmark, got Ussing “out of the gutter,” he says. Specialisterne helps people with autism spectrum disorders who have business potential find work. Thorkil Sonne founded Specialisterne in 2004 because his son, Lars, who had been diagnosed at age three with autism, demonstrated an incredible aptitude for processing large amounts of information and catching details.   More

Jobs

McKinsey’s Susan Lund on Tomorrow’s Workforce

At our recent Techonomy Detroit conference, McKinsey Global Institute director of research Susan Lund shared a worrisome statistic: today four out of five U.S. college graduates can't find work in their field of study. So how can we get more graduating students into the workforce? According to Lund, we need a radical rethink of American education. "The basic way we educate kids hasn't really changed in a hundred years," Lund said. "And what's needed today are workers of all different sorts, but with more skills."   More

Detroit 13 Jobs Video

Where Are the Jobs?

Nolan Finley of The Detroit News, Felix Ortiz of Viridis Learning, the University of Michigan's Joel Tauber, and Dow's Carol Williams join Susan Lund of the McKinsey Global Institute to discuss job creation. Watch video and read the full transcript here.   More

Jobs Learning

America’s Economic Recovery Hinges on STEM Education

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Of all of the potential threats to an economic recovery in the United States, one issue stands above the rest for companies like Dow. The issue isn’t tax reform. It isn’t energy prices. It’s not even budget issues in Washington. All of those are important. Perhaps the most important issue for us at Dow—the one that has the potential to either wreck or resurrect the American economy—is whether this country has enough qualified workers to sustain the economic recovery that we see looming just over the horizon.   More

Government Jobs

Smart Policies Can Restore a Thriving Middle Class

The Baxter robot from Rethink Robotics may not displace as many middle-class jobs as feared.

Labor freed up through technological change is supposed to find its way into other industries and increase the overall production of goods and services. We can produce more goods and services with the same amount of labor as before, and that should allow growth that makes us all better off. But does it make us all better off?Technology has advanced to the point where good, middle class jobs are being replaced rather than those on the lowest rung of the job ladder, and this is polarizing labor markets as the middle class is reduced in size.   More

Jobs Learning

MBA Talent Turns from Wall Street to Tech

More graduates from Harvard Business School are going into technology, preliminary career data published by the school shows. Technology companies hired 18 percent of MBA graduates from the class of 2013, up from 7 percent in 2008 and 12 percent in 2012. Financial service companies hired only 27 percent of the graduating class, down from 45 percent in 2008 and 35 percent in 2012.   More

Business Jobs

Motor City Is Building Apps … But Will Developers Come?

Detroit skyline picture via Shutterstock

Calling all app developers: Looking for the next great career opportunity? The chance to get creative on a completely different platform? There’s just one catch: You’ll need to relocate to (drumbeat, please) Detroit. “Detroit is suddenly hungry for . . . software developers and information technology specialists who can create applications for the next generation of connected vehicles,” writes Jaclyn Trop in the New York Times, noting the Michigan’s Department of Labor projection that app developer jobs will grow 36.9 percent from 2010 levels.   More