Book Review: The Coming Jobs War (Jim Clifton)

//Book Review: The Coming Jobs War (Jim Clifton)

Book Review: The Coming Jobs War (Jim Clifton)

Most of my readers, I suspect, are far more interested in “micro” economic topics these days than “macro” ones.  In other words, I don’t tend to write much about big-picture issues and what the job market might look like 10-20 years from now, given my hunch that most of my blog followers are more concerned about the present moment — and what they might be able to do to get ahead — versus contemplating how the employment scene will look a decade down the road.

This being said, every now and then I like to feature some thoughts or showcase a resource that examines the job market from a 10,000-foot level.  This time around, it relates to a book I recently picked up and read called The Coming Jobs War.  This brand-new book, written by Jim Clifton, Chairman & CEO of the Gallup Organization, outlines some startling research about the global economy, the future of the job market, and some emerging dynamics that the U.S. and other societies are going to need to address if they hope to stay competitive.

The key finding?  After six years of conducting the most comprehensive global poll ever conducted, designed at assessing the current thinking and state-of-mind of people in over 150 countries, Gallup has unearthed what the author calls a single “searing, clarifying, helpful world-altering” fact: that there is nothing people all over the planet crave more right now than decent employment.

As Mr. Clifton puts it: “Whether you and I were walking down the street in Khartoum, Cairo, Berlin, Lima, Los Angeles, Baghdad, or Istanbul, we would discover that the single most dominant thought on most people’s minds is about having a good job.”

The takeaway of this observation?  If I were to string together a few salient thoughts from the initial chapter, which are then examined in detail throughout the rest of the book, it would look something like:

The coming world war is an all-out global war for good jobs.  The demands of leadership have changed.  Traditional leadership through politics, military force, religion, or personal values won’t work in the future like it has in the past.  The global war for jobs will determine the leader of the free world and if the United States allows China or any country or region to out-enterprise it, out-job-create it, out-grow its GDP, everything changes.  This is America’s next war for everything.

This is strong stuff, my friends.  And again, may not make for some uplifting reading for those of you still needing to concentrate on the “micro” side of things.  But as much as it may sound like it, The Coming Jobs War isn’t a book simply full of dire predictions.  Instead, once the author establishes his premise, he makes some impassioned points about what cities, states, and the U.S. as a whole can do to beat the odds — and maintain our advantage.  He talks at length about what the “tribal leaders” in various cities can do to stimulate innovation, or even more importantly, entrepreneurship.  And he reminds us that America appeared to be on the ropes 25 years ago, before a brand-new paradigm called the Internet came along that rebooted our entire economy — just as the next revolution may come in the form of customer experience, biotechnology, or some other industry that hasn’t even been invented yet.

So I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions, should you pick up a copy of the book, and will again point out that this material may not be ideal bedside reading for those people who are between jobs at the moment and struggling to stay confident.  But if you want to be as informed as possible about what’s going on with the international economic scene — or better yet, you’re a community or organizational leader seeking to help address the challenges we’re facing — this new publication is definitely an important and enlightening read!

By | 2016-10-20T17:37:46+00:00 November 21st, 2011|Career Books|2 Comments

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2 Comments

  1. Concerned Citizen Who Wants a Strong Economy November 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Clifton’s opinions are well grounded in current events. Anyone who observes the gridlock and no-action government “leadership” in DC knows that we are losing the war in global competitiveness because our political leaders are micro-focused on not doing away with loopholes in the tax code that allow large corporations to pay zero income taxes while the economy has crashed and needs an infusion of funds to get things rolling again on a national level. We have abandoned funding for our educational institutions that would allow those in the job market to re-tool their skill sets to learn 21st century skills and would allow the upcoming generations to learn cutting edge skills that would keep this country a leader in innovation. We have saddled college, graduate and professional school students with tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt in order to get degrees to get jobs that don’t exist. We have refused to enact real health care reform where everyone has a basic level of health care coverage, where employers don’t have to pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to cover each employee, and where hospitals don’t have to fund care for 50 million uninsured by charging outrageous prices to everyone else who does have some form of health insurance coverage. We have allowed the government to turn a blind eye to financial institutions, insurance companies and banks’ business operations and allowed them to make loans to people and organizations that never had any reasonable chance of repaying those loans as the amounts and terms were not realistic given their income potential. Even now in Washington state we have the anti-tax crowd beating their drums because the Governor proposes a half-cent increase in the sales tax in order to continue educational institution funding in a state that was in the past a leader in aerospace jobs and high technology jobs, and could in the future be a leader in biotechnology jobs if we had the infrastructure and educated citizens to support this industry. Should we continue de-funding our state universities so that they sell admissions to foreign students and out-of-state students to raise their financial bottom lines since their state funding has been slashed, or should we invest in education for citizens who live in WA, pay taxes here, and could enter the workforce here? Should we continue allowing the very largest corporations to pay zero taxes while we burden entrepreneurs and small business with large state and federal tax liabilities that they can’t pay and keep the business growth expanding?

    Bottom line – I keep saying “WE” because “WE” the people need to get out of our state of inertia, insist that governmental bodies act on the pressing issues that are allowing the domestic economy to continue to languish, and start engaging in productive, thoughtful, and involved debates to identify ideas on how we are going to regain our economic leadership position in the global economy and how we are going to create jobs for Americans in America in the near future. The “trickle-down” economic crowd was proven wrong in the 80’s (ask David Stockman, author of trickle-down economics if you are in doubt). We need reasonable investment of funds (including tax dollars), ideas, and skills to move out of this economic funk and become a productive economy again.

  2. Concerned Citizen Who Wants a Strong Economy November 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Clifton’s opinions are well grounded in current events. Anyone who observes the gridlock and no-action government “leadership” in DC knows that we are losing the war in global competitiveness because our political leaders are micro-focused on not doing away with loopholes in the tax code that allow large corporations to pay zero income taxes while the economy has crashed and needs an infusion of funds to get things rolling again on a national level. We have abandoned funding for our educational institutions that would allow those in the job market to re-tool their skill sets to learn 21st century skills and would allow the upcoming generations to learn cutting edge skills that would keep this country a leader in innovation. We have saddled college, graduate and professional school students with tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt in order to get degrees to get jobs that don’t exist. We have refused to enact real health care reform where everyone has a basic level of health care coverage, where employers don’t have to pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to cover each employee, and where hospitals don’t have to fund care for 50 million uninsured by charging outrageous prices to everyone else who does have some form of health insurance coverage. We have allowed the government to turn a blind eye to financial institutions, insurance companies and banks’ business operations and allowed them to make loans to people and organizations that never had any reasonable chance of repaying those loans as the amounts and terms were not realistic given their income potential. Even now in Washington state we have the anti-tax crowd beating their drums because the Governor proposes a half-cent increase in the sales tax in order to continue educational institution funding in a state that was in the past a leader in aerospace jobs and high technology jobs, and could in the future be a leader in biotechnology jobs if we had the infrastructure and educated citizens to support this industry. Should we continue de-funding our state universities so that they sell admissions to foreign students and out-of-state students to raise their financial bottom lines since their state funding has been slashed, or should we invest in education for citizens who live in WA, pay taxes here, and could enter the workforce here? Should we continue allowing the very largest corporations to pay zero taxes while we burden entrepreneurs and small business with large state and federal tax liabilities that they can’t pay and keep the business growth expanding?

    Bottom line – I keep saying “WE” because “WE” the people need to get out of our state of inertia, insist that governmental bodies act on the pressing issues that are allowing the domestic economy to continue to languish, and start engaging in productive, thoughtful, and involved debates to identify ideas on how we are going to regain our economic leadership position in the global economy and how we are going to create jobs for Americans in America in the near future. The “trickle-down” economic crowd was proven wrong in the 80’s (ask David Stockman, author of trickle-down economics if you are in doubt). We need reasonable investment of funds (including tax dollars), ideas, and skills to move out of this economic funk and become a productive economy again.

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