The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton (Gallup Press, 2011). Reviewed/summarized by Steve Gladis, Ph.D., January 2012.
Overview: The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton (Chairman of Gallup) is a very sober and instructive read. An organization with Gallup’s reputation has to be taken seriously, and their numbers about the economy are very serious. Here’s the cliff-notes summary: Currently the U.S. has the leading economy (GDP), with China #2. However, our GDP is only growing at 2% a year, China’s at 10%. Do the math, and the story’s more than sobering in the coming decades. According to Gallup’s research, job creation remains THE critical answer to the GDP growth problem. Also, small to medium-sized companies, not large companies, grow 99% of the jobs. The author argues that entrepreneurism and innovation are the very lifeblood of job creation and the economy. Clifton cites three key elements of such job creation: Cities, local tribal leaders, and key universities. To win the jobs and economic war, we need employees who are engaged. Currently, less than 1/3 of US workers are truly engaged, and 19% are actively (toxically) disengaged. Also, we need to view global, not just domestic, customers as our target market. We must get our arms around our schools, where 30% of K-12 students leave or delay graduation and where 50% of minorities drop out. Finally, we must fix healthcare, which is about to break the American economy—70% of the $2.5 trillion healthcare problem orbits around obesity-related disease! Note the entire GDP of Russia and India is only $1.5 trillion each. However, here’s the hope: We can win this jobs/ economic war, just like the Greatest Generation won World War II in the 1940s against Japan and Germany; just like the Baby Boomers won the technical economic wars in the 1970s-90s; and hopefully just like we will win the job wars in the 21st century. Clifton argues that will happen if we focus on our secret weapons: Behavioral economics (understanding what motivates people to act), entrepreneurship, and innovation. Job creation and entrepreneurship live together like twins, and anything we can do to cultivate entrepreneurs helps not only local cities, but also the nation, and the world—our new playing field.