Digital 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

Government Jobs Life Science

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

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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 Tucson 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 Tucson

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 Techonomy Detroit Video

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 Techonomy Detroit 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 Techonomy Detroit

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 displace middle-class manufacturing jobs.

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 Techonomy Detroit

Motor City Is Building Apps … But Will Developers Come?

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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

Jobs Learning Opinion

Class of 2013: Narcissism or Altruism? In a World of Abundance, Time to Decide

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I'm jealous of anyone graduating college today. You are stepping as a newly-burnished adult into an era of unprecedented promise, innovation, and opportunity. The world you will witness and contribute to can be fairer, wealthier, and more peaceful than any that people have ever known. What makes all these glories possible is the exponential pace of change driven by technology. Your generation takes that for granted, and revels in it. But it makes those older than you deeply uncomfortable, and many simply refuse to see it. That puts a lot of responsibility on you.   More

Government Jobs Opinion

The Knives of Class Warfare Turn Towards Tech’s Plutocrats

I have lots of quibbles with Joel Kotkin's recent essay published at the Daily Beast and already echoing elsewhere. He gets numerous facts wrong, and some of his assumptions are silly. But anyone in tech better pay close attention to his thorough summing-up of the numerous ways that tech's billionaires and their often-wealthy allies increasingly aim to influence social policy at a time when more and more Americans (and others in the developed-world middle class around the world) find middle-class life out of reach, and poverty grows among the less educated.   More

Jobs Manufacturing

The Humanoid Robots Start Arriving

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Steve Jurvetson, a VC friend of Techonomy's at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, ordered a humanoid "Baxter" robot from Rethink Robotics and shared these shots of taking it out of the box and plugging it into the wall. Right out of the box, Jurvetson programmed Baxter by moving its arms. On his first try, he taught the robot to move cups across a table, reporting that Baxter was able to persevere even as people placed cups in random locations on the table. "It learns what its hands can do by looking at them against the table as background," writes Jurvetson.   More

Jobs Learning

Big Data Era Creates Demand for New Breed of Scientist

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With mountains of Big Data piling up, it's no surprise that the need for Big Data scientists is also increasing, and that universities are responding to the need with new training programs. The University of Washington, which offers a Big Data Ph.D., is one of several programs featured in a story today by New York Times tech reporter Claire Cain Miller.   More

Jobs Learning

Girls Who Code Aims to Bridge Tech-Sector Gender Gap

Girls Who Code is a Manhattan-based nonprofit aimed at teaching high school girls software programming, public speaking, product development, and other skills that prepare them to launch careers in the tech sector. It's one of a number of recent initiatives designed to encourage young women to set their sights on jobs in the often male-dominated world of tech. Programs like Hackbright Academy, Girl Develop It, Black Girls Code, and Girls Teaching Girls Code seek to bridge the gender gap in tech by offering hands-on computer science instruction for students on the verge of making decisions about their future studies.   More

Energy & Green Tech Jobs Manufacturing

Deloitte’s Chris Park: 3D Printing for Cleaner and Leaner U.S. Manufacturing

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Revitalizing manufacturing is essential to U.S. economic recovery, but it’s not clear yet how this new phase might look. One thing is certain: it won’t look anything thing like manufacturing did 15 or even 5 years ago. PARC CEO Stephen Hoover has spoken at Techonomy events about how innovations like 3D printing and crowdsourcing can drive a paradigm shift in manufacturing. But can a new American manufacturing approach also be eco-friendly? Techonomy spoke with Chris Park, a principal at Deloitte who helps clients with their environmental, social, and sustainability performance, about how next-generation manufacturing technology could reduce environmental impact and bring jobs back to the U.S.   More