Opinion: Unemployed in Europe Stymied by Lack of Technology Skills – NYTimes.com

Odd Jobs

Odd Jobs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Logo of General Motors Corporation. S...

English: Logo of General Motors Corporation. Source: 2007_business_choice_bro_en.pdf (on GM website). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a selfmade image from the english wiki...

This is a selfmade image from the english wikipedia. The photographer has uploaded it as GFDL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unemployed and Homeless

Unemployed and Homeless (Photo credit: JanahPhotography)


This is an important MUST READ article for millennials and parents, published in the New York Times. Check it out!

via Unemployed in Europe Stymied by Lack of Technology Skills – NYTimes.com.

Whilst, I understand the underlying evidence in this NYT article and the conclusions, I disagree.

Today’s millennials and their parents need to be much smarter. It’s no good just looking at today’s scarcities and job availability. Business leaders, recruiters and politicians are looking after themselves first and foremost. What’s much more important is for millennials to anticipate tomorrow’s trends.

Many traditional jobs have been off-shored or replaced by technology, and they are unlikely to return. More and more people are going to find themselves working in the service sector, possibly with unattractive jobs, at some stage in their career. In the US, Walmart has replaced General Motors as a typical major employer. Jobs like stacking shelves in Walmart may be unattractive but they are the new reality. In Germany, many people have multiple service jobs.

I would counsel millennials to acquire practical skills and technical skills that increase their chances of success in the jobs market or to possibly be self-employed. Let me give an example, some years ago, I marketed myself as an Interim Finance Director; many could match me on skills and qualifications but very few spoke French fluently, and even fewer had worked in thirty plus countries – I marketed myself on a series of skills that collectively made me unique – I used these skills to create by own brand which I still retain. [here are are my views on building a personal brand].

I strongly recommend that millennials improve their marketability. Here are a few ideas to get started:

  1. Consider degrees in subjects that have some potential practical application – ideally where demand will increase in the future
  2. Consider learning skills by joining the military services
  3. Learn foreign languages
  4. Work in foreign countries – what about teaching English in China?
  5. Develop social skills, perhaps by helping others in charities
  6. Obtain practical, hands-on experience, like selling in a market, car-boot sale or working at the likes Walmart, dealing with the public
  7. Try out being self-employed, you may like it, and never look back – perhaps, you’ll become an entrepeneur
  8. Be prepared to take risks
  9. Think unconventionally
  10. Consider Voluntary Services Overseas or working for a charity in the developing World


    Self-employed (Photo credits: http://www.myhardhatstickers.com)

Any more suggestions?

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2 responses

  1. Pingback: Opinion: Unemployed in Europe Stymied by Lack of Technology Skills – NYTimes.com- John Gelmini « Dr Alf's Blog

  2. The older unemployed may be “hobbled ” by lack of technology skills but this does not apply to Millennials who have technology skills in spades but lack basic communication skills and basic literacy and numeracy in 1 case out of 5.

    The reality and the Elephant in the Room is the fact that are 50 people chasing each job so irrespective of skills, attitudes,interview technique and cv preparation, tailoring of applications etc, there are simply not enough jobs.

    Dr Alf is correct, more tangentual thinking is required on the part of Millennials who may never work unless they start to view the planet as their marketplace.

    The days when a man or woman could leave school and be assured of a job disappeared 25 years ago and are not coming back.

    The politicians will not tell you this, business leaders will not tell you this, Chambers of Commerce, LEPs, Government Ministers and the parents of Mllennials will not tell you this because their minds are still in the past.

    Everyone is reacting to events which have already happened, rather than what is currently before their eyes.

    This represents a death wish for fighter pilots who follow Lt Colonel John Boyd,s philosophy of OODA/LOOP which is now used by the Pentagon as standard war-gaming technique. The acronym stands for observe, orient, deploy and act and can be used in business and one’s personal life provided one is prepared to embrace the truth and act decisively.

    Application of OODA/LOOP requires 4 steps:

    1) People in civilian life need first to observe what is actually happening which is that like “Elvis leaving the building”, the jobs are off-shored,sometimes automated out of existence, and are being done in the Indian subcontinent, by motivated residents of the Pearl River Delta or by robots, expert systems, self replicating machines, 3D Printers or someone in the MINT countries (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria or Turkey) that is unknown to you.

    2) Then they need to orient themselves to the new realities Dr Alf talks about so eloquently and decide what they can and should do.

    3) Next it is a case of deploying skills in the new environment ,rather than the firepower of a fighter high in the sky over North Vietnam and earlier in Korea where OODA/LOOP saved countless lives

    4) Finally it is a matter of acting as if it really was a matter of life and death rather than waiting for “something to turn up”.

    Fortune favors the bold, the calculated risk taker and the person who can think and act in advance of events.

    Waiting for things to happen as they once did is an exercise in futility and the only thing it will do for you is make you older.

    Applying this insight will require new thinking and new ways of looking at things which the education system,the “Great and the Good” and society have not provided.

    These matters will eventually become the subject of future blogs, webinars, toolkits and resources.

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