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posted by janrinok on Sunday December 21 2014, @07:47PM   Printer-friendly
from the robbie-the-robot-is-winning dept.

Claire Cain Miller writes at the NYT that economists long argued that, just as buggy-makers gave way to car factories, technology used to create as many jobs as it destroyed. But now there is deep uncertainty about whether the pattern will continue, as two trends are interacting. First, artificial intelligence has become vastly more sophisticated in a short time, with machines now able to learn, not just follow programmed instructions, and to respond to human language and movement. At the same time, the American work force has gained skills at a slower rate than in the past — and at a slower rate than in many other countries. Self-driving vehicles are an example of the crosscurrents. Autonomous cars could put truck and taxi drivers out of work — or they could enable drivers to be more productive during the time they used to spend driving, which could earn them more money. But for the happier outcome to happen, the drivers would need the skills to do new types of jobs.

When the University of Chicago asked a panel of leading economists about automation, 76 percent agreed that it had not historically decreased employment. But when asked about the more recent past, they were less sanguine. About 33 percent said technology was a central reason that median wages had been stagnant over the past decade, 20 percent said it was not and 29 percent were unsure. Perhaps the most worrisome development is how poorly the job market is already functioning for many workers. More than 16 percent of men between the ages of 25 and 54 are not working, up from 5 percent in the late 1960s; 30 percent of women in this age group are not working, up from 25 percent in the late 1990s. For those who are working, wage growth has been weak, while corporate profits have surged. “We’re going to enter a world in which there’s more wealth and less need to work,” says Erik Brynjolfsson. “That should be good news. But if we just put it on autopilot, there’s no guarantee this will work out.”

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Sunday December 21 2014, @09:42PM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <> on Sunday December 21 2014, @09:42PM (#128131) Homepage Journal

    That the US all by itself has a shortage of 500,000 tech workers right now, with a shortage of 1,000,000 by 2020.

    I don't believe it.

    However I do believe that hiring managers have trouble finding the staff that they need. I just don't believe it's due to a shortage; rather I feel it is due to the prevalance of "staffing firms" that require a hefty commission for, uh, "placing" a candidate. The "going rate" is 30% of a perm employee's first-year salary, payable after they've been on the job for three months, or 30% of the hourly pay of a contractor, due every time a payroll is issued.

    It can be a great deal more: someone reported on that he billed his agency $30.00 per hour in the late nineties, whereas his agency billed their client for his work at $90.00!

    In return for their, uh, "service", as found by a recent study, recruiters "read" the average engineer's resume for but SIX SECONDS! Consider that a regular manager - not a recruiter - will "read" a resume for thirty seconds. So at a cost of thirty grand or so, you can hire a headhunter to put in one-fifth the effort you would.

    My contribution to fixing that problem is:

    • Local Jobs, Local Candidates: The Global Computer Employer Index []

      My site links to each employer's own job board. That is, I don't list any currently-open positions, rather the companies I link to, list their own open positions.

      Not every company will currently be hiring. Apply anyway, as most open positions are never advertised; rather they hire from the pile of resumes they already have on-hand when a position opens up.

      While I've been focussing on the US, that's only because that's where I know how to find the jobs. I have many, many companies in other countries that I'll be adding soon, also lots more remote work. I take specific requests; if you're looking for work, let me know where you want to work and I'll find some potential employers there.

      If you'd like me to list your company, please email your company's homepage URL to [mailto]


    Yes I Have No Bananas. []
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