Bookmark and Share

ROD'S BLOG: Where are the new jobs going to be?

Where are the new jobs going to be? Maybe the best way to answer that question is to ask another question: Where are the jobs NOT going to be?

For example, as former TD Chief Economist Don Drummond recently warned the people of Ontario, the new jobs will not be found on the shop floors of the automotive industry, or the steel industry. There will still be jobs there, but not NEW jobs, because that industry will not grow enough to produce new employment.

The people in Atlantic Canada, whose ancestors worked in the fishery for 400 years, know that the jobs won't be there, either.  The centuries of over-fishing has destroyed the eco-system, and while there will still be fish on our tables, no young Nova Scotian or Newfoundlander looks to the fishery for the future.

Whether it is small family farms in Saskatchewan, automakers in Windsor, shipbuilders in Levis, Quebec, or loggers in environmentally-fragile woodlands in central British Columbia, the jobs that powered a century of growth in Canada are rapidly disappearing in our collective national rear-view mirror.

Farewell to all that. 
There will always be an industrial base to our national economy, but it will no longer DEFINE our national economy. The new jobs will be found in two broad areas.

First, natural resources.

A world that hungers for oil, gas, coal, potash, uranium, iron ore, nickel, and all other matter of what lies in the ground, looks to Canada as a safe, stable, reliable, and savvy supplier of their needs.

The search and identifcation of environmentally sustainable ways to get those products to market will take legions of engineers, entrepreneurs, scientists, analysts and hundreds of millions of dollars in research and development to give to the world what they want.

The second area is simply information - data.

The so-called 'information age' is upon us, and the new jobs will be found by those who can make sense of the tsunami of data that washes over us every second; how to capture it, catagorize it, explain it, help us understand where it is coming from, where it is taking us, and enable us to make sense of what is important over what is just noise.

Think of when radio exploded in the 1930s and people had to sift through this new media universe to determine which channels were important, and which were just distractions.

The young Canadians who can take their ideas and turn them into a form of commerce that helps society understand how to take information coming at them from a fire hose and turn it into a more manageable kitchen tap, will be the entrepreneurs, the job creators (and the millionaires) of tomorrow.

Is it scary?


Change is always a challenge.

There will always be charter members of the Friends of the Status Quo who never learn the lesson of history: a legion of armies can never defeat an idea, even when its time has come.

And in the future, it is ideas that are on the march, not armies.