Today, there are a number of critical shortfalls that pose a grave danger to the future world economy. One contributing factor is the current and emerging technologies which are directly or indirectly likely to become essential across all industries.
A growing threat to the continued evolution and growth of the global economy, technology sectors, and nearly every organization in general now exists. At this point, there is no solution identified for these critical shortfalls. The sum of the emerging technologies stands ready to disruptively change virtually every aspect of the world in which we live and work. Organizations and individuals have begun to ask if they are ready for the near future? This has many forward-thinking individuals and organizations beginning to plan their path forward given the implications this will have on all of us. It appears many are optimistic about the future even though there is a growing concern about critical shortfalls. That is surprising, in that there are no quick and easy answers to these anticipated shortfalls.
The Critical Shortfalls
The transition to the digital economy is underway. This brings with it a number of challenges. One of which is the growing recognition of the increasing demand for raw materials that play an essential part in the future. It has been reported that the high-tech industry’s consumption of critical rare-earth elements is unsustainable. Many rare-earth elements are used in the development and production of semiconductors/microprocessors. A part of the overall concern is the availability of a number of these raw materials is becoming highly concentrated in a handful of countries that include China and Russia. It should be noted that while there are a few other countries with these critical elements, it has been widely reported they have a number of highly questionable practices. The concentration of these elements could drive prices higher as well as be used to exert pressure on governments and organizations. All this has led to a number of research and development initiatives to expand the availability of critical minerals and rare earth elements in the supply chains of multiple other nations.
Currently, the high-tech economies of several countries are now facing an increasingly critical shortfall in semiconductors. Think about the growing need created by computers, game consoles, smartphones, and other consumer electronics that are in high demand. Recent estimates project the 2021 global consumer electronics market to be around $415 billion USD. Clearly, the implications are far-reaching. At this point, the automotive industry seems to be one of the hardest-hit areas. The automotive industry has already been forced to temporarily shut down product manufacturing facilities resulting from this issue. The global automotive industry is projected to hit $80 billion USD in 2021. One has to wonder what might that figure be if this issue did not exist.
There is another far greater shortfall. The greatest critical shortfall is without question the availability of qualified workers. A study by the management consulting firm Korn Ferry determined that “by 2030, more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because there aren’t enough skilled people to take them.” They went on and projected that the economic impact of that talent shortfall will be $8.5 trillion USD. That is greater than the gross domestic product (GDP) of every country in the world except China and the United States. Consider the additional impact if robotic and Artificial Intelligence advancements weren’t occurring and their ability to perform some of the current jobs!
All shortfalls covered here require properly skilled human talent to meet the demand, and those demands will increase. Clearly, there are a number of additional critical shortfalls that will have global implications. For example, the trillions of dollars of emerging technologies moving into operations will require additional talent with new skills specific to each of them. That is what is making the educator/teacher shortage so critical. In 2019, the Economic Policy Institute said, “The teacher shortage is real, large and growing, and worse than we thought.” The shortage exists in K-12, colleges and universities, tech training organizations and is growing. This shortage will have serious consequences to the future high-tech economy of the world.