Could our future be in technology?

I remember reading at the beginning of the 21st century that many of the jobs that were common in the year 2000 would mostly disappear within two decades replaced by whole new industries and job types. I scoffed at the idea. How could so many jobs that had been around for decades simply change?

And then I remembered the newspaper industry. By the year 2000, at the newspaper, we were already in our fifth generation of computer-generated newspapers. We had transitioned from lead to the beginnings of paper layout, to whole new photography systems and had begun the process of doing all the layout on computer screens. Within a brief period of less than 20 years, one-third of the jobs that were being performed in 1980 had disappeared.

New skills were learned by the newspaper staff. New computer systems and software made the newspaper production easier while affording more options in layout. The industry continues to evolve and through the pandemic, the staff of the newspaper learned that they could produce the paper remotely. Reporters could interview people by phone or video interview by “Zoom” or “Skype.”

The newspaper industry is not alone in its changes. Today the fastest growing industries across the world are in technology. A huge shortage of talent has been recognized. Today recruiters from companies around the world compete for tech workers in every location on the globe. It is not uncommon for a tech company in Australia recruiting Canadian talent and making it possible for them to work for them while remaining in Canada. We see Amazon, Twitter, and Alphabet recruiting Canadians because the Canadian market is less expensive than similar talent in the United States. We see those same companies setting up campuses in Toronto and Calgary funded by both senior levels of government.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has proven to major international companies that remote work is effective. In many ways living in Northwestern Ontario, we can offer affordable housing, quality education for our youth, and a great lifestyle to those technologists that cannot be found in the Toronto’s, Vancouver’s, and other major cities of Canada. And this is where the Rainy River District has an opportunity.

Maybe it is time to look to new types of employment opportunities for the district.

As Canada must strive to attract the world’s brightest science and tech minds, the district can be home to many of those who can work remotely.

Former Publisher
Fort Frances Times

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