31.01.19 | Yarra Valley (and the future economy).

By Jessica Sier 31 January 2019 2 min read

Good job everyone.

The state of the labour market is flummoxing some of the bigwigs who manage the largest pots of money in the country.

This week Spaceship is down in the Yarra Valley at a well-stocked conference of superannuation chairwomen and men.

Look, we might appear out of place amongst this crowd, but thanks to a passion for helping young people build wealth and a well-versed pinot noir vocabulary, we’ve managed to have some insightful conversations.

And one is how the economy of the future is going to look: just how are young people going to work in the future and precisely how are they going to live their lives?

Working 9-5 at one corporation for 30 years and then retiring is not how many young people see their careers panning out. I sure as heck don’t.

Instead, this internet generation are commanding the gig economy, taking advantage of remote working scenarios, in-demand computer science skills, and the potential to negotiate globally competitive salaries to design a life that bursts with bits of work, mixed with bouts of exploring, mixed with bits of retraining, mixed with bits of family planning.

To say we might experience several 'mini retirements' throughout our lives is not an unrealistic dream.

As young people shake off their 'emotionally stunted' and 'digitally dependent' stereotypes, our evolving lifestyles are going to form the basis of the Australian economy.

But unfortunately, contemporary economic measurement tools haven't caught up with modern work styles. The productive output of Uber drivers, freelance graphic designers and loads of folk who are commissioned to work online through internet marketplaces is often overlooked in our GDP reading.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (the body that measures how we’re doing all the stuff we’re doing) currently treats Uber driver cars as “personal consumption” items, rather than investment in plant and equipment, meaning the use of it for business purposes (economic output) is zero.

I write about that more here if you’re a bit of an economics fan.

From an economist's point of view, knowing where the jobs are coming from is one of a government's most important tools. If it can shape the skill set of the people towards the new things they will get paid well for, a healthy, happy country we will have.

What’s heartening about all this chatter about the future of work, is how on top of it young people are!

They have naturally begun the shift from routine work to cognitive work, and understand this is the crux of the future labour market.

Our education systems have been great at turning out people who can do routine calculations and internalise a body of facts. But as technological innovation spills into other industries (more than just software/information technology) young people know high-level processing will be the big-ticket items.

Anyway, it’s all part of how the country’s economy is going to fit together. And the clamouring of young people to make and enact change from where their money is going, is just so incredibly heartening.

We get hundreds of messages from you guys every week demanding changes in our app, technology and some pretty curly questions about our investment strategy.

From a generation who are often mocked in the wider press, to have the internet generation so clearly making their mark in the labour market and their voices heard (and in a way that’s heard in the Yarra Valley by the bigwigs) is empowering indeed.

Anyway, good job everyone. Let’s create the world we want to live in.

Words by
Jessica Sier Right Chevron

Jessica Sier is a financial journalist. Prior to that she led content at Spaceship and was a reporter at the AFR where she discovered that breaking down financial jargon was a public good.

31.01.19 | Yarra Valley (and the future economy).