Conquering rising youth-unemployment, applying lessons learned in hacker communities to the “real” world.

A gap is widening, on the one hand, unemployment among young people is on the raise, on the other hand, it is getting more difficult for companies to find qualified works. A paradox it seems? I don’t think so, neither is it coincidence.

Two factors are coming into play here.

1) The “kind” of job that companies are offering, are not very compelling. The values, benefits and problems that are prevalent in the job marked are no longer in line, with what young people expect. Growing up with open source software, social networks, Wikipedia and the Internet, makes young people expect a much higher level of transparency, than is currently lived in “old world” businesses. Old world businesses are a lot about projecting an image, about hiding information, about political bickering etc. A system that fundamentally relies on an asymmetry of knowledge. If however, all of the worlds knowledge is available in seconds, relying on an asymmetry of knowledge is simple not a sustainable business model. People will find out, eventually sooner than later.

So a young person gets to start at a job, and some higher up tells him this and that. She looks it up on the Internet, and its obviously bullshit. Well, she will find that situation unacceptable, and if she’s a high performer, she will take her business elsewhere, and “old world” businesses will have to do with the worst of the crop.

2) The second factor, is the education system. While people who are driven and have learned to educate themselves have thrived, those that got tangled up in the education system have unfortunately lost. The world of business is evolving faster than the educational system. That is, the knowledge, habits and attitudes that people leave the educational system with, are nowhere near what is required in the business world of tomorrow. They won’t learn it on their first job either, because as they are already behind, they will only be able to get work in an “old world” business of yesterday. And habits learned in those jobs will only further their unemployability.

What to do about it? Well, unfortunately many of the businesses of the future are not yet even created. Because it will be the top crop of our generation to build those businesses.

What will the future business look like?

It will probably be about diversity and automation. Many of the basic necessities of our life are already automated. What are the most fundamental pillars of wealth, luxury and comfort: shelter, energy, water. Look around you in your own home. What couldn’t you do without? Most of the stuff you pile up is probably expandable, but electricity and tap water are probably the most defining achievements of the first world countries. All other kinds of wealth are mere afterthoughts. And those amenities are available to almost everyone already.

And large parts of this infrastructure are already automated. So there is little workforce needed in the field of utilities. So, the mass market is already saturated. This brings us to the long tail. And the long tail means diversity. So now, that we as a civilization no longer need to focus on the fundamentals, we can spread our interests.

And this brings me to another observation, that I’ve made during my life. That is, if you take a specific and narrow field of interest, and you try to find all of the top performers/researches in this field, you will find that there are no more than about 50 people in this group worldwide. That’s it.

And to be quite honest, if you cannot be in the top 50 of a field, it is probably not worth pursuing at all. That may sound harsh, but the good news is, there is an almost unlimited amount of fields available at any given time. That is, there are enough fields worldwide, so that everybody can find and work in his/her specific top 50 field.

And that I believe will be the future of the workplace. To provide an environment, where everybody can strive to enter the top 50 of his/her personally preferred field and do the best work of his/her life!

Think about it.