What could the ‘Internet of Everything’ and the ‘Baby Boomer Generation’ possibly have in common? You might think it would make more sense to connect the Internet of Everything with, say, the Millennial Generation. But no, it is the Baby Boomer Generation that is still the key driver for current job growth. In fact, the Boomers and the Internet are the two largest drivers of job growth today.
A brief history
To understand how we got to this point, let’s step back in time to the turn of the 20th century… The demand for natural resources and basic utilities (oil, steel, transportation and electricity) was soaring. Captains of Industry like Carnegie, Ford, Rockefeller, Morgan and Vanderbilt were building industrial empires. As time marched on, America’s leading companies grew larger by buying assets (oil, mineral deposits, forests, water and land). By the 1950s, more than three-fourths of the top 50 U.S. companies by market capitalization owed their success to natural resources and industrial monopolies.
But then the world changed. Intellectual capital became more important that physical capital. Intensively creative employees like scientists, engineers, marketers and salespeople were at the heart of the competitive advantage and began driving companies’ success. This new talent pool used creative resourcefulness, independent judgment, and complex decision-making to build strong businesses. In 2013, more than half of the top 50 companies were talent-based, including three of the four biggest: Apple, Microsoft and Google.
Over the past 50 years, the U.S. economy has shifted from being a nation of physical capital to one of human capital. To illustrate this change, consider that in the 1900s, creative positions accounted for only 13% of all jobs. In 1960, it accounted for 16% of them. By 2010, creative jobs accounted for a full 33% of jobs.
What will drive jobs in 2015 and beyond?
In recent years, the concept of connecting people exploded (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). We are now moving into an era of connecting things together through jobs in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields, where many positions are currently unfilled. Further, the aging Baby Boomers are driving up demand for all types of healthcare-related jobs.
CareerCast and US News & World Report have both recently published The 10 Best Jobs for 2015. (See here and here.) Although the number of Health Care and STEM jobs differ in each list, these two industries dominate them both. It’s no wonder that the Technology and Health Care sectors combined now account for a third of the value of the S&P 500. And, as most economists predict, these industries will continue to grow.