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Are Middle Class Jobs Dead?


The American workforce spent the better part of the 20th century making a major shift. At the beginning, 50 percent of the workforce worked in agriculture. Now, the same jobs only account for 10 percent of the workforce. A similar shift is happening with jobs in industries like manufacturing and information processing.

According to Harold Jarche, the shift is largely due to the automation of certain jobs, while others are being outsourced at the lowest cost possible. And, with technology moving at such a fast pace, it is easy for a myriad of jobs to be replaced with a simple computer program. Over time, we’ll be seeing many more positions becoming obsolete and digitized.

However, not all jobs can be replaced with technology. Physical jobs will always provide builders with unique opportunities. And innovative thinkers will always have a place in the business world. Jarche argues that the combination of both building and innovative thinking is at the heart of long-term business ventures. The key to getting here is by encouraging informal learning.

What organizations need to be doing is helping their employees share knowledge and increase social learning as a whole, whether this includes hosting seminars and workshops, or creating an environment that encourages the sharing of information.

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“Our work structures need to support informal learning so people can share implicit knowledge while creating intangible value,” Jarche writes. “Realizing that the era of ‘jobs’ is over would be a good start.”

Jarche adds that the next steps would be to acknowledge that formal education doesn’t have the same significance it once did and a reevaluation of the distribution of wealth.

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(Photo credit: c DragonImages –

Marissa Brassfield
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