A Monday session Advertising Week in New York City explored one of the industry's favorite topics: The future of work.
While the prognosis looks ominous for many workers, the advertising industry may have a leg-up given that its key skill is creativity, which at least for now is not easily duplicated by robotics or artificial intelligence.
According to panelists at the session, human-centric skills will always be in high demand, like effective communication, leadership, and creativity.
Panelists included Babs Rangaiash executive partner, global marketing iX, IBM; Jennifer Brett, head of Americas insights, marketing solutions, LinkedIn; and Sarah Rabia, global director, cultural strategy, TBWA\Backslash.
They believe overhauling the educational system will be one of the more intriguing future career challenges
Rabia predicts university programs will cease to be a set consecutive block of time to instead become a fluid, on-going curricula that evolves alongside career trajectories. Just as we will have multiple jobs instead of one linear career at one company, our education will change as we grow through our careers, she says.
Rangaiash says the current university system is "uneven" since it costs nearly the same amount to attend an Ivy League school as a mid-level one, yet there are nearly none of the advantages associated with a degree from the latter schools.
He sums up the current desired skills sought by employers as first being intelligence, followed by emotion and increasingly curiosity he believes.
The panelists had some fun predicting possible hot jobs. Brett cites drone videography as one rising career field. Rabia foresees personalized data brokers becoming a popular path as individuals learn how to monetize their own caches of information.
Rabia quipped that the only human job to have been completely eliminated due to automation is elevator operator.
My opportunity to watch TV ads that show the elderly is when I'm visiting my 90+ mother and we watch Daytime TV. And from my perspective the depictions are largely positive, with smiling, active and well-dressed people on exotic vacations (usually with their spouses); gardening in beautifully landscaped yards; celebrating birthdays or holidays while surrounded by adoring grandkids and family members; participating in rock climbing, kayaking, etc. I've asked Mom, who's a widow who is relatively healthy (still drives!) and lives comfortably, if she ever finds these depictions annoying because of how "cheery" they are, and she said no since she doesn't think any advertising depicts people as they really are.