Welcome in this and the following articles we are looking at the Digital Revolution and its impact on the jobs market now, and in the near future. Firstly as always we have to look at the past to see the future
Agricultural Revolution in England 1500 - 1850
The English agricultural revolution only really got going in the century or so after 1750. One obvious reason behind it is the fact that the growing population from this time on was largely fed by home production (farming, fishing). In 1750 English population stood at about 5.7 million. It had probably reached this level before, in the Roman period, then around 1300, and again in 1650. But at each of these periods the population ceased to grow, essentially because agriculture could not respond to the pressure of feeding extra people. Contrary to expectation, however, population grew to unprecedented levels after 1750, reaching 16.6 million in 1850, and agricultural output expanded with it.
One reason output grew was through new farming systems involving the rotation of turnips and clover, although these were part of the general intensification of agricultural production, with more food being produced from the same area of land. Intensity was also increased by land reclamation, especially the draining of the fenlands of eastern England, from the 17th century onwards, when a low-intensity agricultural system based on fishing and fowling was replaced by a high-intensity system based on arable crops.
Industrial Revolution 1800 – 1942
Before the Industrial revolution the Idea of mass employment or mass unemployment had not been thought of, but during the industrial revolution the Victorians gave us the terms scroungers, idleness and jobless. The Victorians also gave us the terms manufacturing, railways and industry. Industry needed mass employment so from being farmers and surviving by hand to mouth the population was put to work. People who did not join the revolution were called the unemployed and were treated as an underclass. The traditional jobs that people did started to disappear and were replaced by automated processes, machines started to replace men. The industrial revolution lasted just over 100yrs and in that time the world was transformed by it.
The pace of modernisation was breath taking transforming every aspect of people’s lives. Housing, transport, factory’s, hospitals, sewers, electricity are just some of the benefits that helped accelerate the pace of change. Manufacturing was the bedrock of this revolution but ironically as mechanisation increased the working population had to adapt and adjust to the new industries, and those who could not adapt were left behind. By 1942 the mechanisation of war meant that a European conflict affected the entire world. Guns, high explosives, bombs, planes, ships, tanks, meant that millions of people were killed in a short four year period.
Digital Revolution 1945 present day
As we are in the midst of the Digital Revolution it is hard to appreciate just how much has changed in the time period from the 70’s let alone from 1945. There is one thing for sure the pace of change makes the industrial revolution seems like a sluggish period of modernisation. WW2 was brought to an end by the spark of the digital revolution. The nuclear bombs dropped on Japan were developed using the first computers. If you are in your 30’s or older all you have to do is think back to when you were at school, then think of all the inventions that have come about since then. If you want an even longer view of the Digital Revolution just talk to a parent of someone 30yrs of age or older.
The list of inventions to come about in the last 30yrs is staggering, just Google or search online for innovations of the 20th century as the list is far too long to mention them all. Looking at the innovations that have affected how we work is the focus of these articles and just like in the industrial revolution the innovations has lead to a massive change in the type of work available to the population. Manufacturing and Heavy Industry have been replaced by Financial Services and Retail. The Digital Revolution shows no sign of slowing in fact it continues to accelerate.
We would go as far as to say 90% of jobs today involve some kind of interaction with digital equipment. Just like in the Industrial Revolution men are being replaced by Digital mechanisms.
We will look at the impact of Digitisation in the workplace, how to deal with and get the most out of it as an individual worker. Just one statistic, studies show that up to 15million jobs could disappear in the near future.
The Following articles will open your mind to what the future of the jobs market will look like in the next 20yrs.
After reading this article, don’t stay silent, please