Home' HR Monthly : October 2015 Contents PERSPECTIVE
THIS GREAT WORLD CITY WAS FOUNDED BY BRUTUS OF
Troy circa 1000BC, after he overthrew King Gogmagog. Not sure if
it was because he didn't like the King's name or face, but either way
that Brutus dude had his way. Needless to say British gender equity
also had its own way later when Queen Boudica led an uprising
against the Romans and massacred 70,000 soldiers encamped here in
60AD. So Londinium was never going to be the city of brotherly love.
Even the good sisters you had to be careful of, and it remains thus.
At some stage 'Londinium' jump started itself across spell check
and became the London we have today.
Many mistake the extended lifetime television footage of royalty
and architecture as stamping London to be a place that is mainly
for British conservatives and the upper class. And yes, the accidental
tourists like me. That couldn't be further from the reality. They
are around for sure, but the city of London has for centuries been
an international melting pot. The Brits have remained open to
members of all races coming to live and work here if there was a good
business reason for that. It is first and foremost a city of international
commerce and finance, and you encounter all manner of civilisations
and languages while wandering its streets.
At the level of business exchange there is a lot of respect for
those who demonstrate they can add value to the next trade that
comes along. That said, there are also some deep seated racist
problems and attitudes, and tension in certain suburbs you learn
quickly to stay away from.
But it's a great place to visit. The Brits are also international
thought leaders in most fields, even if they are stronger in the
intellectual conversation than sometimes getting on and 'just
This trip I joined the seventh Global Leadership Summit of
the London Business School, and as an alumni I was treated to a
full exposure of the best professors in their faculty for a couple of
hundred quid, when to contract them privately would cost a few
hundred times that for the same time period. An economic job lot for
sure. The session which I found most valuable was called "Living to
be 100". (Yes I wish). The LBS had evidence that over 50 per cent of
those born today will live to be 104 in the UK (and its 107 in Japan).
Now only one third of those at the age of 95 will have a serious
disability, and that's half the rate in 1984. Such are the beneficial
advances of medical science.
But what does living to be 100 mean for our work and lives? That
was the fascinating part of the analysis. The LBS argued that in
future we will have to better manage our tangible assets -- savings
property and pensions; and our intangible assets -- productivity,
vitality and transformation. Whereas in 1980, we could save five
per cent of our income and have enough for our retirement given the
then life expectancy levels, now it would require saving 50 per cent of
current incomes, which most would find impossible.
So the challenge now is to manage a long life proactively, over a
future 60-year working career, and not one covering the current 40
years. So we will have to take time to acquire new skills -- especially
in our fifties and be prepared to acquire dynamic relationships and
friendships beyond that, as we keep working into our eighties albeit
at a slower or more graduated pace. We will also need to re-educate
ourselves in our sixties and beyond, and also factor in a recuperative
break of three months or so, for a hip operation or whatever it takes
to get us back on the road of fully effective working functionality.
The LBS agreed with the predictions of the
McKinsey Institute that 50 per cent of today's jobs
won't be there in 2030, but went further to survey
employers who were optimistic, in a significant
majority, about hiring more people in five years'
time and beyond.
In short -- we do know the jobs of the future
won't be those we understand from today but a
positive spirit endures that new skills will be in
strong demand to keep growth going. Further the
implications for individuals are clear --
we will need to keep experimenting,
re-educating ourselves, building new
personal and business relationships,
and to have flexible life and career
models. Across all of this the biggest
challenge was seen to be complacency.
"She'll be right" mantras will be
lonely echoes for those who seek to
rely on them.
In the UK, the question posed was: What are the consequences of living to be over 100?
BY PETER WILSON AM, AHRI CHAIRMAN
To read past Perspective columns by
Peter Wilson, visit hrmonline.com.au
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