This creates both opportunities and threats in the modern workplace. The potential return on human capital has never been greater, even though technology destroys jobs. These are two powerful ideas that co-exist to demonstrate how we are at peak employment levels.
Of those employed, people’s ability to generate value is also at an all time high. Traditional roles that are labour intensive, such as those across the workforce at GM, mean that the return on human capital is lower (the market cap per GM’s 118,000 employees is $298k) as opposed to technology companies such as Facebook where the market capital for each of their 25k employees is $21m.
The skills shortage is a real threat to this however, with many sectors not having a strong pipeline of talent coming through the ranks. The lack of digital and engineering talent is being tackled with initiatives such as the apprenticeship levy and more bursaries for university students studying sought-after skills. These initiatives are critical to harness the opportunities involved in machine learning and AI, which will be inherent in the workplace of the future.