According to Gallup Research, of the seven billion people on the planet, there are five billion people who are age 15 or older. Of these five billion people, three billion of them indicate they work or want a job. However, the reality is that only 1.2 billion have jobs.
And that leaves 1.8 billion people without a job.
Jim Clifton, the Chairman of Gallup, paints a pretty dismal picture for future job seekers in his book, The Coming Job Wars.
Clifton suggests the first two world wars, and WWII in particular, were a play for all the marbles. Had the United States and its allies not defeated Fascist Germany and the Imperialist Japan, the world would be a much different place. However, that was then. The winner of the war we are facing in the future, the war that will determine who has the influence to affect local and global economies, people, attitudes and philosophies, will be the country or region which has won the war of producing the most jobs.
The author suggests the biggest problem we face as a nation today is not health care, the environment, human rights, abortion, terrorists, immigration, or any of the myriad of issues covered by the media, but jobs!
“My big conclusion from reviewing Gallup’s polling on what the world is thinking on pretty much everything is that the next 30 years won’t be lead by U.S. political or military forces. Instead, the world will be led by economic forces – a force that is primarily driven by job creation and quality GDP growth.”
Gallup’s research is giving policy makers, lawmakers, presidents, prime ministers, parents, judges, priests, pastors, imams, teachers, managers and chief executive officers a heads-up about what their focuses should be. Clifton suggests everyone, including workers, need to be cognizant of the risk and opportunities available to all of us if we focus on positioning our country to focus on jobs while maintaining our leadership as the world’s most powerful economy.
Fewer people working is a worrisome trend.
The scary fact is that the percentage of our country working is now at the lowest level in decades -having fallen from a high of over 67 percent to a low today 62.8 percent today. As a result, we have the same number of people working (138 million) as we had just 8 years ago. This is despite the fact that we pumped out 3 million high school graduates and 2 million college graduates a year. At the same time, our country absorbed 10 million new immigrants.
According to Gallup research, (and quite different from the Department of Labor’s Statistics), of the 150 million Americans who want a job, 15 million are unemployed and 15 million are significantly underemployed.
Clifton suggests that America has a huge opportunity to continue to dominate and drive the economic engine that fuels economies around the world today. In a global economy that boasts a 60-trillion-dollar Gross Domestic Product (GDP), America is solely responsible for 25% of it (15 trillion dollars). Over the next 30 years, economists predict the GDP will rise to 200 trillion dollars. If we are to maintain our leadership, Americans needs to develop strategies and policies today to ensure we will continue to capture 25% of global GDP.
Our economy is really massive!
We’ve actually done quite well. In the 80’s our GDP was a little over 3 trillion dollars. Today our economic engine is MASSIVE! Consider how our GDP compares globally:
- United States of America $14.62
- China $5.75
- Japan $5.39
- Germany $3.30
- France $2.55
- United Kingdom $2.25
- Italy $2.03
- Russia $1.44
- India $1.43
I don’t know about you, but this information floored me as it put into perspective what is really happening in the world today. Russia, while in my mind a significant world power, is really a minor economic player while still retaining a menacing nuclear capacity. Japan, while a small island nation that nearly got blown off the map in World War II, has made an enormous impact on economics. Germany which was totally annihilated in World War II, is producing more goods and services than France, Britain and Italy; and China, a country that only a quarter century ago was stuck in the horse-drawn-cart era is surging forward with a 10 percent GDP that is predicted to enable them to grow to a phenomenal $70 trillion dollar economy by 2040! At an estimated 2 percent growth per year, America will barely break $30 trillion.
Clifton suggests we should be concentrating on this number because it is a major indicator of employment.
I want a meaningful job.
According to Clifton the number one thing people want today is a job. They don’t want just any job, though, they want a meaningful job that challenges them and enables them to utilize their unique talents, experiences and interests. They don’t want a part-time job; they want a full time job that pays enough to support themselves and their families.
When you think about it, a desire for a job is a relatively new thing for mankind.
If you go back 200 years, there were relatively few jobs available on the planet. The majority of people spent their time committed to securing food and shelter for themselves and their families. The industrial revolution introduced a variety of new jobs and occupations and each decade leading to the “service economy” and eventually the “internet economy” opened a bewildering number of new jobs and career related choices. Because the concept of careers has occurred so late in the evolution of mankind, nature has not had time to aid career selection by providing unique DNA characteristics to make the process easier.
So what does this mean to career center professionals?
Clifton reminds readers of what they already know, “Students don’t want to merely graduate; they want an education that results in a good job.”
University and college career professionals are in a unique position to help college management understand the importance of jobs in increasing enrollment, retention, graduation rate, alumni satisfaction, and giving.
Clifton charges universities to step to the plate and find ways to bring faculty research and innovations to market, teach and graduate more entrepreneurs, and focus more on delivering an education that will give students what they want when they graduate – satisfying jobs.
When you read Clifton’s book, you will realize that you have been called to service, not just to help the careers of the students and alumni who have invested their hearts, souls and financial futures to your college, but you to helping your country win the war on jobs.
You have a war to fight and only you can get management to understand the importance of winning it for the students you serve, the companies that hire them and for the security of your college.