By Kenneth K Mburu
Nearly two years ago, I completed my undergraduate studies. As you would expected, my parents were ecstatic as going by the traditional believe that a well educated fellow always lands a lucrative job, I was on my way to becoming a highly-paid, very prominent member of the society. But like most of my fellow graduates, I was not very optimistic about life after school. Statistics had shown that unemployment rates in Kenya had more than doubled since the turn of the millennium with many university graduates forced to stay without a job for an average of five years. But luckily, a few days after my graduation, a job posting on Facebook would prompt me to apply for a position in a startup company, and after a few rounds of interviews, I secured my first job. Interestingly, my job description required me to be connected to the internet throughout as the company was generating its revenue entirely through Google’s popular revenue program AdSense.
22 months later, I was back on the job hunting scene. This time round popular networking site, LinkedIn, proved to be very resourceful. A few days after announcing to the world that I was jobless, a recruiter for a British based company contacted me and needless to say, I was employed for a second time thanks to the connectivity and interaction that the internet has brought with it.
What was initially started as a means of the US government to transmit information electronically has evolved to an omnipresent outlet where humans can easily find meaningful connections. Each passing second, the internet is mutating and growing ever larger and more complex but at the same time providing millions of people with the opportunity to better themselves.
Unlike any other technology ever invented, the internet has successfully managed to provide a means through which humans can overcome age old obstacles to human interactions. Be it language barriers, geographical restrictions or even financial restrains, people across the globe can now easily interact and learn from each other. This has led to the rise of a new age of creativity among humans. Never before have so many people had as much information and power in their hands. For many who have been able to take advantage of the internet, the benefits have been immense. Take for instances the world javelin champion, Julius Yego, a man who has been able to break world records and rise to be a celebrated sports personality thanks to a skill learnt via watching You Tube videos.
‘Yego’ by Khaligraph Jones: Yego’s success story has been so impressive that songs have even been sang in his honor.
Each new day, internet connectivity is spreading and new portions of the world are welcomed into the online arena. Among these entrants are both new and old companies. One of the greatest fears that people have with the spread of the internet is on job automation with many fearing that the human workforce will be replaced by automated machines. While this might be true, as past revolutions, for instance the industrial revolution and the digital revolution, have often come at the expense of certain categories of jobs, some global economic analysis have shown that the internet has in fact added more jobs than it has obliterated. According to McKinsey and Company, internet has created 2.6 new jobs for every 1 deleted. This means that with each passing day, university graduates, who media reports had claimed would remain jobless for at least five years, have more than double the chance of finding a job provided they position themselves appropriately. Think about the different communities that sprout each day to help the youth find jobs.
These communities bring together people with similar interest and making it easier to build helpful contacts all over the world, something one could not do so easily without the internet. The internet has provides equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of how shy or confident one is, the internet will provide a means to make communicating that much more easier, keep in mind that one can pretend to be whatever they want to be.
In line with the clue train manifesto, the internet has succeeded in breaking down the once limiting top-down control of those in authority. One of the regular McKinsey reports clearly highlights how the “Internet of Things” will create brand new ways of doing business and disrupting the traditional back and forth of conducting business. Ideally, this means creation of new opportunities for job creation as different companies strive to remain relevant and retain their customers. In additionally, the Internet is full of information that can help potential entrepreneurs start successful ventures. Furthermore, as Executive Street notes, internet penetration has caused a selling revolution by placing the purchasing and decision making authority in the hands of prospective buyers. This means that if one website does not have what a buyer wants, another Website will meet their needs. This gives startups an equal playing field with multi-nationals.
As more ‘traditional’ jobs are replaced with new jobs that have been brought about by the internet, university graduates will have to align themselves with the new types of work. Additionally, they will need to be as dynamic and as comfortable to adjusting to the regular changes that are bound to happen in the work place. And in order to remain relevant and reliable once they join the work force, they will need to learn how to be resilient and able to recognize and make the most of new opportunities. Being technologically literate will be one of the key elements of beating unemployment as companies are now rushing to adopt digital strategies that will see them survive in the new digital era. In short, mastering new ways of working will be key to a person’s employ-ability.
But even as all this happens, one can’t help but wonder how the market will be like in the next 15-30 years. Will there be need for offices or will everyone opt to work from the comfort of their homes, hotel suites or airplane seats? Will Whatsapp messaging app and Instagram Direct Message be adopted as the main form of communications deeming interpersonal communications, that current employers value so much, irrelevant? Will robots take over the world and force humans to migrate to another planet? Or maybe someone on the internet might just create an app that will turn all social networking sites, Google and the internet as a whole into some sort of virus forcing everyone to turn back to the traditional way of doing things. You never know!