Phil Ruthven Columnist

Phil is founder and chairman of IBISWorld, an international corporation providing online business information, forecasting and strategic services. He is considered one of the nation's most respected strategist and futurist on business, social and economic matters.

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New and fading jobs: how to avoid lower wages and dead ends

Published 05 March 2013 10:18, Updated 06 March 2013 09:53

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Nothing is forever, as is said, and how true this is for jobs. The first chart is a stark reminder of the growth and decline of jobs across the nation’s industry in just a dozen years to 2012.

Mining jobs more than doubled (growth of 120 per cent), while jobs in manufacturing fell by 10 per cent and agriculture lost almost one-quarter of its workforce against overall jobs growth of 27 per cent.

Earnings have a general tendency to follow such growth over the same 12-year period, although there are exceptions to this apparent nexus, as a second chart shows.

Mining, utilities, construction, and professional and technical services all experienced above-average growth in jobs and earnings.

Yet wholesale trade had the third highest growth in earnings, at 79.4 per cent, while having a near-negligible jobs growth of just 0.5 per cent. Go figure, as they say!

Manufacturing earnings rose at a below-average 62 per cent over the dozen years, with a 10 per cent fall in the number of jobs.

There really is no justification for megabuck government support of the old and bold industries.

Agriculture had one of the lowest rises in earnings (60 per cent) with a massive fall in employment of 23 per cent due to amalgamations of holdings and mechanisation (it is the industry with consistently the highest or second highest productivity gains over any five-year period).

Jobs and money are getting tougher in these two industries.

Workers have to be prepared to be mobile these days; nothing is forever. So looking out to the end of this extraordinary new age, near the middle of the century, what are likely to be the fastest growing opportunities?

The list below summarises those industry themes that have emerged since the new age began in the mid-1960s; most continue to have good prospects for the remaining decades through to the birth of yet another new age in the late 2040s through to early 2050s:

  • ICT and fast broadband (the new age all-pervasive utility).
  • Knowledge industries
  • Business services
  • Financial services
  • Property Services
  • Health services
  • Education (especially preschool and universities)
  • Personal and household services
  • Hospitality and tourism
  • Recreation, sport and cultural services
  • Mining (particularly energy: oil, gas, coal, uranium)
  • Construction
  • Transport
  • Biotechnology and nanotechnology
  • Environmental services

There really is no justification for megabuck government support of the old and bold industries.

This only damns the employees to lower wages and a dead end at an older age, when that time and financial support could have been used to migrate employees into a brighter and higher earnings future.

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