Last week, Google chairman, Eric Schmidt, issued a stern warning at the World Economic Forum.
He said that the jobs problem will be "the defining one" for the next two to three decades because the constant development of new technology will mean more and more middle class workers losing their jobs.
And as several other experts have stated, we are living through a fundamental shift in the world of work as great as that of the industrial revolution.
What we are witnessing is nothing less than the death of the job
To understand this, we have to remember that the job is a relatively recent invention in the history of mankind. At the beginning of the 19th Century the majority of people did not have a job with a boss. In fact even the word job was not recognised by most people.
The Industrial Revolution of the late 19th and early 20th Century changed that. To achieve the maximum productivity with the new machinery people had to be brought together and employed in large factories.
As the factories gave way to offices over the course of the 20th Century, the same principles applied - employing people full time to work the same hours at the same location (often treating them as exchangeable components like a cog in a machine).
But now a lot of us don't need to be in the same place and use the same equipment to do our work- all we need is a laptop and internet access. And we don't need to sign up as an employee either. In fact it's often more efficient and more responsive for a company not to do that. Hence we are seeing the proliferation of part-time work, contractors, freelancers, outsourcing, crowdsourcing, and even automation.
David Maney wrote in Forbes magazine,
Jobs aren’t a viable construct going forward. The notion that most of us will earn our living in the future through an employee/employer relationship is headed for the scrap heap of economic history...
The path of moving from the “job-centric” system we have now, which emerged during the Industrial Revolution, to an information-powered “Individual Economy” is going to be painful and disruptive.
But it’s also inevitable, and ultimately beneficial to our society…
We’re headed toward that Individual Economy whether we want to be or not.
Goodbye Industrial Economy, hello Individual Economy
People earning their living from a job will be in the minority in as little as six years' time.
And a lot of jobs that are being created are not necessarily ones you would want to do. Scott Gerber points out in Fortune magazine that, "most US job openings by 2020 will be in low-wage professions like fast food, retail sales, and truck driving." and in 2011, "54% of all bachelor's degree-holders under 25 were either jobless or underemployed."
Meanwhile those who do have jobs are already finding themselves squeezed to work more while paid the same or less than they might have received just a few years ago.
And of course a job can end at any time when the employer finds a cheaper or more convenient way to get the work done.
The fact is that what was once considered the safe option – the 'good' job – is no longer safe.
The new safe option is to be able to generate your own income
"In the 21st century the most important small-business enterprise will be you" - Author and Management Consultant, William Bridges
But the good news is that contrary to what we are taught at school (which was designed during the Industrial Revolution to produce compliant workers), entrepreneurship (or at least self-reliance) is natural for all of us.
Here's what the Nobel Prize winner and founder of the Grameen bank, Muhammad Yunus says:
All human beings are entrepreneurs.
When we were in the caves, we were all self-employed … finding our food, feeding ourselves. That’s where human history began. As civilization came, we suppressed it. We became “labor” because they stamped us, “You are labor.”
We forgot that we are entrepreneurs.
It's time reawaken your inner entrepreneur. Make this the year that you begin your adventure to make a living outside of a job. Because that is the single most useful skill you could have right now. On top of that, it's a chance for you to have complete control over your career, and to do what you love and get paid for it.
I'm going to be releasing news shortly of my 6 month programme to show you everything you need to know to find an idea you love and turn it into a full-time income.
If that's something you'd like for yourself, enter your email below to get the details as soon as I release them.