Where to look for future jobs?

Claus Rosenstand, Digital Hub Denmark Professor looks towards jobs arising in the digital age

We don’t know exactly what the jobs of the future will look like. But we know where to look for them. Namely, in digital tech start-ups and scaleups.

In the transition from the hunter-gather age to the agricultural age, new jobs arose in different agricultural market-verticals such as animal and vegetable farming; correspondingly in the transition from the agricultural age to the industrial age, new jobs arose in different industrial market verticals such as production and consumption. Of course, this has happened over a long time and is much more granulated in different market sub-verticals.

To this end, I suggest, that looking for new jobs in digital market-verticals arising and growing with the transition from the industrial age to the digital age.

Digital market-verticals and exponential growth

Since the end of the 19th century, the price-performance of computation has grown exponentially; meaning you get double computation power for the same constant dollar every year – more precisely, the exponential growth has increased from a doubling every 2nd year to less than a year today.

Some of this exponential growth is, of course, reflected in digitally driven disruptive technologies such as genetics, artificial intelligence, and robots. But moreover, this exponential price performance is also indicative reflected in the very transition from the industrial age to the digital age, which is indicated in the labor market figures of Denmark’s digital tech start-ups and scaleups.

The crux of the matter is the digital tech job market itself, and the future job market, has also become digitalized.

This can be illuminated with Danish job market figures, where Denmark can be considered a region with less than 6 million citizens.

Figure 1: Danish labor figures of digital tech start- & scaleups, 2017-202
We have used this dataset to collect labor market figures of Denmark’s digital tech start- and scaleups over the last five years.
The above figures are from Denmark, and although corresponding figures from other regions have not been investigated, the exponential price-performance and the history of age transition is a general phenomenon across the world. To this end, the inductive implication is that the transition to the digital age will happen with exponential acceleration all over the world. It is only a matter of when it will gain traction for future jobs in different regions.

The Danish Digital Ecosphere

The Danish Digital Ecosphere contains the seven leading Danish digital tech ecosystems within FinTech, HealthTech, Robotics, CreaTech, PropTech, AgriTech, and EdTech, which is governed by the Danish Digital Ecosphere Steering Committee, with the ecosystem leaders, where Digital Hub Denmark hosts the secretariat.

You can read more about this in the last issue of Open Access Government in the publication: “How Denmark built a unique governance model for digital ecosystems”. The point here is, that these seven ecosystems are mapping themselves as market-verticals with sub-market verticals, and they share these data with Digital Hub Denmark, which is listed here, and criteria for the start- and scaleups are listed here, Most importantly the company is maximum 10 years old, or in the case of a scaleup, it has raised venture capital or is listed on a stock exchange within the last five years. In short, all the companies are designed for potentially fast and exponential growth.

In Figure 1 Danish labor figures of digital tech start- & scaleups, 2017-2021 are listed, only including jobs in Denmark (excluding jobs in the companies outside Denmark). The 4-year growth from 2017-2021 is 142% and 58% for employees and companies, respectively. To this end, the Danish digital tech start-ups and scaleups are in general consolidating their market position, as the number of employees grows nearly triple as fast as the number of companies.

Moreover, all the ecosystems in the ecosphere have grown year on year, with the only anomaly from 2019 to 2020 in EdTech in employee growth (not companies) which indicate a really solid growth trend both on the general level of digital tech start-and scaleups , and on the specific level of market-verticals the ecosystems operate in.

Future labor figures

We cannot clearly conclude that this growth is exponential; however, the figures indicate an exponential growth with significant traction from 2021, with approximately a doubling of employees every third year and a doubling in companies every sixth year. Assuming this exponential trend continues, this will result in approximately 220,000 future jobs in 4,250 tech companies by 2033.
Beyond these figures, the ecosystems have reported that the venture capital was more than tripled from 2020 to 2021 to €1.7 billion. This will most likely accelerate the growth further over the years to come.

References

1. Kurzweil, R. (2005) The Singularity is Near. Penguin Group.
2. Rosenstand, CAF, 24 June. 2022, I: Open Access Government
3. Lundgaard, SS, & Rosenstand, CAF (2019). Investigating Disruption: A Literature Review of Core Concepts of Disruptive Innovation Theory. Aalborg Universitetsforlag. e-bøger fra InDiMedia

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