The Vanishing Labour Market

…in New Zealand we have one political party talking about subsidising manufacturing and the other political party talking about how lazy the unemployed are.   It makes me a sad panda. – Matt Nolan

One reason that young Kiwis aren’t saving is because they aren’t earning enough. Income less expenses equals savings.

The cost of living has gone through the roof over the past decade, with hardly any increase in wages, salaries or opportunities to create your own wages through freelancing or self-employment.

In 2012, young Kiwis need to lower their expectations because of the destruction wrought by the baby boomers and assorted grey hair elite.

Yes, some young Kiwis buy fancy gadgets. But not all of them do.

Yes, some young Kiwis earn high incomes. But most of them don’t.

Yes, some young Kiwis waste heaps of money partying. But a lot of them can’t afford even that.

I am sick of reading comments by people born into an entirely different economic paradigm.

Yes, your job cleaning toilets with a toothbrush paid your way through university.

But if you’ve taken a look at low skill jobs these days, you’ll find that part-time is the new full-time and casual is the new part-time.

There is also an inability to perform basic math on the part of many who criticise young people who don’t work or can’t find a job.

Even if they did get a job, their employers can treat them like crap without a care in the world. Why? Because there are literally hundreds of other people who could do the same job.

We no longer have a functioning labour market in the sense that every generation before us experienced.

We have a skills market. If you don’t have a specific skill then you don’t get anything.

Our current education system is designed to produce people who slot perfectly into production lines and paper pushing jobs.

Creative ability is crimethink, innovation is insolence and self-directed learning is subordination.

There is an enormous gap between reality – skills market replacing the labour market – and what our entire education apparatus actually does.

There is no hope for changing the education and benefit system to focus on the sort of upskilling needed in the 21st century because it can’t be centrally planned.

If you have no skills employers want, the motivation to teach yourself them and put yourself in a position to earn income from those skills comes from within.

I’m a sad panda too, but not because of what political parties are saying, but because so many young people are ignoring the economic reality that they have to have a bunch of valuable skills to even get a look in to the skills market.

The bonus of many other young people’s lack of foresight is higher wages in the long-term for people who realise the way the economy is going and constantly add to their skill set through self-directed learning and real world freelancing projects.

Just look at the reality behind income inequality – we are moving towards a cognitive elite capturing almost all of the gains in productivity because not everyone can get their heads around the new economy.