Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Future outlook from The Futurist

One of the resources I use to research and write about learning and work trends is The Futurist, a magazine published by the World Future Society. It's a great magazine that can help you stay out in front.

In the most recent issue (November-December), the editors provide an outlook for 2005, gleaned from past issues of the magazine and the society's electronic newsletter. Here are some relevant tidbits:

--Distance learning grows. By 2008, distance learning (including learning via the Internet, email, and other means) will be the primary delivery mechanism in 30 percent of training programs. By 2014, it will be the main method in 30 percent of university courses.

--Telecommuting increases. The number of people in the U.S. who are telecommuting will grow to more than 50 million by 2010 (from 15 million today). That trend will be driven by better communication technologies and companies' search for low-cost labor.

--"Me generation" winds down. More and more people are focusing on spirituality, caring, and time with family over materialism and getting ahead. These people are known as "cultural creatives" and they make up 26 percent of U.S. society now, over 5 percent in the 1960s.

--Older workers could help lengthen business day. This demographic tends to wake up early and be more alert in the morning. Early risers could work 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and expand business hours of companies.

--Knowledge work will decrease. As farming and manufacturing have dwindled, the growth of information technology could make infotech and service jobs dwindle. By the end of the century, jobs in that sector may comprise only 2 percent of the workforce.

--Skills that can't be automated will be in demand. Employers will put more emphasis on these "hyper-human" skills, including caring, judgment, intuition, ethics, inspiration, friendliness, and imagination.

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