Surgeon, economist…No, world demands high technology workers

The jobs of tomorrow are here today, there's just going to be a need for many more of them, officials at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting predicted Wednesday. At a roundtable discussion of employment staffing company officials, academics and trade groups, the prognosis for future job growth pointed directly toward medicine, nursing, and traditional jobs that have often been overlooked in an era of high technology: plumbers, construction and electricians.

"It's a critical issue, not just in North America, but in some of the fast-growing consumer economies worldwide, like China and India," said David Arkless of Manpower USA. Given that an estimated 1 billion workers from emerging economies have become part of the global labor market since 2000, curiosity about what sort of jobs will be needed has become greater.

At the annual meeting in this Swiss Alpine resort, there was unified agreement that more jobs would be needed, but that training to give new workers the skills they need is also necessary, as well as retraining workers who have been laid off.

"How do you produce the right people in the right volumes with the right skills in the right place at the right time?" Arkless said, adding that countries, and companies, need to synchronize the demand for certain professions with training to ensure those are filled. "The war for talent that was there in the 1990s and that supposedly disappeared? It was a skirmish. Producing the right people without doubt will be something that is huge in national agendas and company agendas in the next 10 years," he said.

U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao said that the United States has forecast a demand for millions of nurses and health care workers to help take care of an aging population. She said the nation's construction industry, too, was looking at shortages of skilled labor, particularly electricians and carpenters.

"We need about 1.2 million nurses in the next 10 years. We need about 3.4 million health care workers," she said. "We need skilled trades people plumbers, construction workers, electricians, carpenters." Chao also said the U.S. hiring situation, currently at about 4.9 percent, was not showing signs of going soft, despite the temporary loss in jobs in the aftermath of the string of hurricanes along the Gulf Coast last year, reports the AP. N.U.

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