There was a time when Bell Boys would bring you a printed message from the electric telegraph; when a telephone operator would ask you for the number; when a typist would type your letter; when the Xerox operator would create your copies; when the computer operator would load and run your program; and when a secretary would organise your mail. Those days and those jobs are long gone, but at the time the concern was; what would these people do when they came redundant ? In reality all these people found employment as new jobs were created at the behest of new technologies. Web designers, CAD experts, IT specialists, data analysts, spread sheet drivers and many more replaced the old to the point of staffing shortages. Perhaps more poignantly; we are all now the bell boys, telephone operators, typists, printers, copiers, computer operators and secretaries - empowered by the self same technologies!
Today we see a global shortfall of some 200,000 Big data analysts complemented by similar needs for specialists and experts in Artificial Intelligence, Business Modelling, Decision Support Systems, 3D Printing, Genomics; Nano Tech and more. And there is a huge demand for people with the ‘hands on’ skills to design, build, repair and fix just about everything. The reality is that many of the people in these spheres derived their base skills through play. Wasting their young lives on a screen playing computer games, searching the web, hacking code, ‘building stuff’ and more turned out to be their springboard to employment and personal prosperity. But this presents companies and managers with many new challenges as they find it difficult to let go of the old and embrace the new.
Hierarchies and old management methods might just work for industries that are static and churning out the same product day after day, but for those facing rapid change and unpredictable demands, then agility and flexibility are ket, and that demands low flat structures with new and autonomous ways of working…