Make NO MISTAKE, the era of largely abundant, high-paying jobs that characterised the second half of the twentieth century is gone. Since 1983, the only segment of “jobs” to show significant growth were “Non-Routine Cognitive Jobs.” In other words: creating systems. According to a 2015 report from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers based on data from the US Census Bureau, from 1948–2000, jobs grew 1.7× faster than population. Since 2000, the population has grown 2.4× faster than jobs.
We aren’t going through a global recession—we’re transitioning between two distinct economic periods, and ignore the signals at your peril. The way today’s 18-year-olds will grow up and establish their lives is quite different from the way that their parents and grandparents did. They don’t remember the Cold War and barely remember September 11. They know they won’t get a pension, they’d rather live where they can walk to the grocery store, they might not bother getting cable TV. They probably won’t get married as early, and they might not wait until they’re married to have kids. They’re probably not going to go to church every Sunday. They might postpone buying a house. The new collaborative and sharing economy has arrived.
These changes aren’t just superficial. This isn’t about bell-bottoms versus skinny jeans. When your best friend comes out to you as gay, that has a fundamental impact on how you think about family values. When you can’t get a job after graduation and decide to freelance to pay down your student loan debt, you think differently about how the economy works. When you see the street on which you grew up dotted with foreclosure sign after foreclosure sign, it profoundly affects how today’s youth view homeownership and the American Dream.
Over the past few years, the rise of mobile devices and the changes in media consumption that came along with it have arguably been the biggest trend in the tech world. And, at least according to leading figures from U.S. tech companies, that trend isn’t over yet. When asked what they expect to be the biggest drivers of their companies’ revenue growth over the next 24 months, mobile (including apps and hardware) was the top answer among the 111 tech executives surveyed by KPMG. Other growth opportunities include healthcare IT, Big Data and cloud storage, as the chart below illustrates. It would appear that this is where growth will keep coming from.