The End of Jobs? – Cardozo

By Andrew Cardozo

P1120243

Are we facing the end of jobs?

By Andrew Cardozo      Jan. 29, 2018

The Hill times

Work at the minimum wage and the low end of spectrum is becoming more precarious. The developing precariat, the modern day proletariat, are not just our kids in university, they are our neighbours, our siblings, our spouses—they are us.

Employment, Workplace Development, and Labour Minister Patty Hajdu must focus on addressing the rapidly changing and uncertain future facing Canadians, with full times jobs continue to disappear, writes Andrew Cardozo.

The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

  •   While a new $14 minimum wage for Ontario took effect January 1, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives put out its annual estimate on January 2, the first working day in the year, which calculated that by lunch time, the 100 top executives in Canada had earned what the rest of us will earn in a full year.Work at the minimum wage and the low end of spectrum is becoming more precarious. The developing “precariat,” the modern day proletariat, are not just our kids in university, they are our neighbours, our siblings, our spouses—they are us. And if you are in a secure job today—you might well not be a year from now. Just talk to those folks from the venerable Sears.
  • Here are some key trends:
  • For young people it’s not about landing their dream job, but pro-actively making their own job(s).
  • And the hot debate over a $15 minimum wage is highlighting for us the profound and rapidly changing nature of work that has been taking place and will continue in the years ahead.
  • The Canada Service Corps is to be the new youth service program to help instil a sense of service, community, and work ethic among young people. The program announced by Prime Minister (and Youth Minister) Justin Trudeau is an old idea coming back that will have new urgency in a rapidly evolving world.
  • The number of full time jobs with job security, health benefits and pensions is fast decreasing
  • The “gig economy” is increasingly the way of the future for young people, yes, but for older age groups too. This means more people will work several gigs—part time jobs or contract work with no job security, and perhaps spending periods of time without any work.
  • The “fissured workplace” is becoming the norm—where a workforce of an organization is made up of various people who work remotely, in full or part time roles, and are rarely together in the same location.
  • There are estimates that the majority of kids in kindergarten today will work in jobs that do not currently exist.
  • Today some 60 per cent of jobs require post-secondary education—that’s trades training, college or university—and they may have a better shot at making a living than those with high school education or less.
  • That also means some 40 per cent will have a more precarious existence.
  • More jobs will need advanced computer skills—if not actual coding.
  • It used to be said that adults would work in 6 to 8 careers in a life time, then that figure got bigger and now it is just meaningless as more people don’t work in full time jobs. So it’s more like counting the contracts you have had.
  • Women on average, still only earn 87 per cent of every dollar eared by men.
  • Indigenous people, racial minorities and Canadians with disabilities are even further down the scale of precarity than others.
  • As automation increases more people lose their jobs, like at the Shoppers Drug Mart in my neighbourhood which just installed self-checkout terminals. (It was great when Shoppers moved in a decade ago because many local kids got jobs there—not so much now.)So who cares? Young people for starters, those in school and about to graduate or who have graduated recently. Middle-aged folks care as they see their adult kids struggling, living at home, and not being able to get on with their lives. That’s kind of the social policy stuff. And what are the essential skills people are talking about? Here are two—entrepreneurial skills and computer skills. Not just the business students. Every worker in the gig economy is an entrepreneur, everyone is in business. You can be an accountant, a musician, a graphic artist, a physiotherapist. You are an entrepreneur always looking for gigs. Incidentally that is also why a basic income or the guaranteed annual income becomes so important. Also why pharmacare and dental care become so important as less and less people will have the extended health care benefits.  The Hill Times 
  • Andrew Cardozo is president of the Pearson Centre and is an adjunct professor at Carleton University.
  • While the House of Commons seems convulsed over issues of the prime minister’s 2016 holiday and Finance Minister Bill Morneau selling his shares in his family company, Employment, Workplace Development, and Labour Minister Patty Hajdu will do better service being more focused on the rapidly changing and uncertain future facing Canadians as full times jobs keep disappearing.
  • It’s not about hand-outs but rather increasing stability.
  • The higher minimum wage becomes important because in this precarious economy, all workers need to earn a decent wage. It’s time to think about a $15 federal minimum wage too. Not just for workers under federal regulation, but all those summer and other programs federally funded regardless of the relevant provincial minimum wage. Many minimum wage workers are gig workers too—they hold more than one low-paying job or provide some kind of service in addition, be it dog-walking or web designing.
  • Coding, or at least more advanced computer skills are going to be the way of the future for most work, and fortuitously the feds are getting into the act, with Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains announcing a new program last week to increase coding courses at all levels of school….and the provincial governments are not complaining much about this incursion into provincial jurisdiction. They must get the urgency!
  • The Pearson Centre is holding roundtables on the future of work in various cities. Daunting as the topic may be there are many Canadians who are positive and innovative in looking for solutions.
  • From an economic policy perspective, the precariat don’t spend much. They can’t go to restaurants or take holidays. Can’t buy flat screens, or expensive clothes, or new cars, let alone homes in cities with sky-rocketing prices. This can cause economic growth to slow down and stagnate.

The Pearson Centre is holding roundtables on the future of work in various cities. Daunting as the topic may be there are many Canadians who are positive and innovative in looking for solutions.

And what are the essential skills people are talking about? Here are two—entrepreneurial skills and computer skills. Not just the business students. Every worker in the gig economy is an entrepreneur, everyone is in business. You can be an accountant, a musician, a graphic artist, a physiotherapist. You are an entrepreneur always looking for gigs.

Coding, or at least more advanced computer skills are going to be the way of the future for most work, and fortuitously the feds are getting into the act, with Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains announcing a new program last week to increase coding courses at all levels of school….and the provincial governments are not complaining much about this incursion into provincial jurisdiction. They must get the urgency!

The higher minimum wage becomes important because in this precarious economy, all workers need to earn a decent wage. It’s time to think about a $15 federal minimum wage too. Not just for workers under federal regulation, but all those summer and other programs federally funded regardless of the relevant provincial minimum wage. Many minimum wage workers are gig workers too—they hold more than one low-paying job or provide some kind of service in addition, be it dog-walking or web designing.

Incidentally that is also why a basic income or the guaranteed annual income becomes so important. Also why pharmacare and dental care become so important as less and less people will have the extended health care benefits.

It’s not about hand-outs but rather increasing stability.

While the House of Commons seems convulsed over issues of the prime minister’s 2016 holiday and Finance Minister Bill Morneau selling his shares in his family company, Employment, Workplace Development, and Labour Minister Patty Hajdu will do better service being more focused on the rapidly changing and uncertain future facing Canadians as full times jobs keep disappearing.

Andrew Cardozo is president of the Pearson Centre and is an adjunct professor at Carleton University.

The Hill Times 

 

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