The Job Market of Today Will Not Exist Tomorrow.
The future is changing and with it, the job market. Entrepreneurship will be one approach to future careers and job creation thus we need to start teaching youth how to be entrepreneurs now.
Some people say that you must be born with an entrepreneurial mindset. I have to disagree. While many entrepreneurs maybe born with an entrepreneurial mind, other entrepreneurs are created out of need – usually to solve a pain point. Further, there remain skills that every entrepreneur, small business owner and innovator need to know to be more successful.
So how do we create – or spark – that entrepreneurial mindset?
We start young.
By introducing entrepreneurial thinking in elementary school, we expose youth to previously unthought of opportunities. We teach kids to create and innovate, to challenge the status quo. The amazing thing about youth is that they are not yet jaded – kids have not yet been told that something cannot be done. And thus, more imagination and creativity go into creating out of the box, innovative ideas.
We share knowledge.
The sharing of knowledge in our ever-growing open source economy will help young entrepreneurs grow. 20 years ago the general public did not have access to the abundance of information we have today. With the growing drive for transparency, access to government information and open source information, one can access and use information for any number of innovative projects. Internet of Things (IoT) devices allow us to more easily track even more data. Access to knowledge allows young entrepreneurs to expand further than ever imagined.
And it doesn’t stop there. With programs like Coursera, Khan Academy and Udemy, kids and people of all ages can access a wide variety of learning via online classes taught by experts from MIT, Copenhagen Business School and more. Want to learn rocket science? Yes. There is a course for that. EntreLaunch will also be launching an online course platform in the near future to provide knowledge to young entrepreneurs from experienced entrepreneurs. EntreLaunch also runs events like Impact Cup to tweak interest in building ideas and allow experimentation.
We teach skills.
Skills will be a vital part of the future job market. We all need soft skills such as communication and problem solving but we also need other skills including leadership, the ability to collaborate and how to adapt to rapidly changing environments. As we move towards the gig economy where many employees will be temporary contract workers, these skills matter even more. One must be ready to fit into a new workplace, work as a team and not be afraid to challenge the status quo even in a short-term position. Companies are going to need to constantly innovate and change the way business is done. An abundance of soft skills will help future employees make this change easier.
And then there are other skills. Entrepreneurs wear many hats and while the key to successful business is to delegate, delegate, delegate, one also needs to understand the basics behind the work. Take bookkeeping and pricing as an example. Many entrepreneurs delegate this data entry task but they still need to understand how things work. Financial literacy is vital to successful business. You need to know how to calculate the actual cost of a product or service, not just the price tag. What other costs go into the price? Consider your overhead – your rent, insurance, shipping, product research, advertising and so much more. How much profit does a product selling for $100 actually produce? After overhead, the net profit could be as low as $20. You need to understand this. Do you know how to read balance sheets? Check accounts receivable? Make sure accounts payable are paid?
These topics are rarely covered in school though some post-secondary business programs may discuss it in a general sense. But, one still has to know how to apply this knowledge to their own business. I know too many professionals (doctors, lawyers and more) that simply don’t understand how to manage their finances or operate their business. Many new graduates feel clueless when it comes to buying a car, doing taxes or investing and we simply throw them into the world unprepared. At the same time we put them into debt through student loans and credit cards without the knowledge as to how debit, credit, interest and more actually work.
Well this has got a little off topic. Bottom line – we need to educate youth in practical life skills that will allow them to adapt in any environment. We need to ensure our youth are financially literate. And, we need to support our youth as they seek out new frontiers and go where no entrepreneur has gone before.
This is our future. The jobs of today will not be here but there will be a plethora of new opportunities yet to be discovered.