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The New Economy
People Skills Will Matter in Jobs of the Future

A Wall Street Journal report on the explosion of franchises catering to the elderly reminds that opportunities still abound in the U.S. economy for people with the eyes to see them, the guts to take chances, and the willingness to work a little harder than the cubicle class:

One of the hottest trends in franchising these days isn’t sit-down restaurants or real estate. It’s seniors.

Providing home-health aides and other services to older Americans is a fast-growing business, as brands and franchise owners seek to capitalize on an aging U.S. population and low costs of entry.

“There is no way to lose with the demographics we see,” said Claudine Halpern, chief operating officer of My Elder Advocate LLC, a recent entry into franchising. “All of us are planning on living until 100.”

One important feature of many of the emerging job areas is that they are more human—you get paid based on your ability to relate to and work with other people, rather than performing repetitive actions on an assembly line or shoveling earth. No matter how quickly automation proceeds, there will always be a demand for services delivered by real human beings. People skills are going to matter more in the future.

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  • Anthony

    Social intelligence (people skills as referenced above) has always been and will forever more be considered a valuable asset. And what is people skills but a continuation and present acknowledgement of such. Qualifier: please do not interpret the aforementioned as any way minimizing the biological character of cognitive intelligence.

    • seattleoutcast

      I have never been in a job where people skills were considered important. And by that, I mean compensated. The American workplace does not recognize people skills in any way as important, except with lip service.

      • Anthony

        Regrettable (or lamentable)!

        • seattleoutcast

          It is indeed.

      • Matt B

        Seattle + workplace pessimism = Amazon or Microsoft employee?

        • seattleoutcast

          LOL, Matt.

          No, just surrounded by Progressives who continue to implement environmental and economic policies that destroy the middle class while clicking champagne glasses in their mansions on Queen Anne and tell each other how precious and special they are.

  • Matt B

    Ah cubicles… I long for those good old days…

  • FriendlyGoat

    This quotation from WSJ discloses the nature of one of the fundamental problems in America today—-namely, that we are tending to over-compensate our matchmakers for services and undercompensate our actual service-givers. We are told that there is money in “providing home-health aides” to seniors. We are NOT told that there is money in BEING a home-health aide to a senior—-in fact, we are told HERE (http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Home_Health_Aide/Hourly_Rate) that the median pay for this work is $10.05/hr.
    So though this sounds like the “people skills” are for working with the seniors—–the thrust of this is that the “people skills” for making any real money in this business would be buying a franchise, selling the services and hiring/managing the actual caregivers to be paid low wages to make the franchise work. With this realization in mind, the last paragraph of this article is basically misleading baloney.

    • seattleoutcast

      Here, here, something we can agree on.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Hooray.

    • Anthony

      Here’s an interview you will appreciate: https:www.vox/2016/8/5/12387674/hillary-clinton-political-philosophy-bowling-alone

    • Jim__L

      What you need is for most people to be able to live in a place where $10.05 isn’t bad money.

      • FriendlyGoat

        There are very few places in the United States where that wage would support a single person with a SMALL market-rate apartment, an insured used car, health insurance, tiny savings, and thrifty food, clothing and miscellaneous—–the mere recommended “basics”.

  • Greg Olsen

    And we wonder why productivity is falling… When society needs personal services instead of things, because of demographic trends and at a certain level of wealth ,consumption shifts to diversions rather than accumulating things, productivity, which is the basis for rising wages, stagnates.

    • Jim__L

      “Productivity” metrics do not and cannot adequately measure “people skill” jobs.

      Honestly, we were better off with single-breadwinner households where the non-paycheck member of the couple put down community roots and reinforced the social fabric by doing the sorts of tasks that these downright dystopian franchises are trying to provide now.

      It shocks me how blind economists can be — “Every time you increase population density, economic activity increases moreso!” Sure, because to live like that you need a two-breadwinner household, and services that used to be done far more personally by Mom, (and opportunities that in suburbs or rural areas are far more widely available privately because they take up space, which is at a premium in a city), are done on a for-profit basis in a city.

      That doesn’t mean that kids living in an apartment in a city have a better life than their suburban counterparts of last generation. Far from it.

      No wonder people don’t think their children will have worse lives than they do. They’re seeing it already… primarily because of urbanism.

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