Jobs Take Center Stage at Milken Institute Global Conference

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Devin Wenig, President and CEO, eBay Inc., speaks at the Milken Institute Global Conference on Monday, May 2 on why we need to champion the education and skills needed for the new economy.

The Milken Institute Global Conference kicked off in Los Angeles Monday bringing together 3,500 of the best minds in the world to tackle today’s most stubborn challenges.

While a range of issues facing our country and the world were addressed, the issue of jobs in today’s workforce was a hot topic of discussion among the panels. A topic that is near and dear to the Milken Institute who promotes prosperity and sustainable economic growth around the world by increasing the understanding of the dynamics that drive job creation and promote industry expansion.

Panels that tackled the subject included:

Creating Meaningful Lives for the 21st Century Workforce: A Conversation with Top Executives

Panelists John Chambers, Executive Chairman, Cisco; Denise Morrison, President and CEO, Campbell Soup Company; Tim Sloan, CEO and President, Wells Fargo & Co.; Mark Weinberger, Global Chairman and CEO, EY; and Devin Wenig, President and CEO, eBay Inc. discussed how corporate leaders must pursue and encourage growth while also promoting values that reach beyond the bottom line.

“[…] 80-90 percent of the college graduates aren’t trained in teamwork, collaboration, technology and the skills we need,” Chambers argued. “Yet our education system is moving in an old world fashion. And this is what is different from what has changed from two decades ago, it’s the speed of change. So we have to go with a national agenda in terms of digitization, a startup mentality (because that’s where most of the jobs will be created), we have to have the courage to redo education and there is no entitlement.

“I think the U.S. will lead in this, but we’ve let a lot of people get out in front of us. And that’s true on education, startups and directions. We have to change our education system, how we motivate people to become part of the organization and we have to speed where government and business work together.”

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Trends Shaping Technology, Business and Society

Panelists Adrian Aoun, Founder and CEO, Forward; Former Head of Special Projects, Alphabet; Belinda Johnson, Chief Business Affairs and Legal Officer, Airbnb; Oscar Salazar, Founder, Pager, Inc.; Founding CTO, Uber; Hans Tung, Managing Partner, GGV Capital; and Devin Wenig, President and CEO, eBay Inc. debate the pros and cons of the impact technology will have on jobs, accountability and what can be done to help workers in industries that are impacted.

“There are a lot of jobs being created in the sharing economy that are already relying on machine learning and A.I. […] That doesn’t mean that there aren’t second and third level effects,” said Wenig. “[…] look at the retail industry, we’re far from the vision of A.I. or machine learning, but by some studies a quarter of the jobs in the United States are supported by the retail industry—and they’re in trouble. And it’s technology that’s created that.

“So, I think that championing things like education, championing the skills that are going to be needed in the new economy, we’re missing a great opportunity right now [to ask]: why aren’t we educating students in the United States to get ready for the economy that’s going to be coming that’s going to be shaped by the trends that we’re talking about? Why isn’t computer science and STEM education mandatory for K-12 students in this country?”

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AI: Reshaping the World As We Know It

Panelists explored the many benefits and potential hazards that AI delivers across multiple industries.

Not Working: Solutions to America’s Underemployment Crisis

Panelists discussed the new social reality in the U.S.: Fewer men and women are participating in the workforce, and many have stopped looking for jobs altogether.

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Unleashing Innovation: Advancing a Creative, Productive and Competitive Workforce

Panelists examined the tools leaders can use to foster innovation and remain competitive and relevant.

Outside of panels specifically aimed at today’s workforce, during a lunch program interview at the conference JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon called on reducing regulations to foster a more business-friendly economy that supports workers, stressed the fact that technology advancements are not the enemy of job creation, and that the government needs to spend more money on programs that provide education and work opportunities for people.

I, Worker: Employment in the Age of Robots

Panelists discussed what can be done to prepare for the transition of robots and artificial intelligence in today’s workforce, what skills and jobs will be relevant, and what effects the aging workforce will have on the future.

WATCH: Bloomberg interview: Box CEO Levie Optimistic That Automation Will Create Jobs

Aaron Levie, Box Inc.’s chairman and chief executive officer, discusses the impact of automation on employment with Bloomberg’s Scarlet Fu at the Milken Institute Global Conference.

SEE ALSO: Art Bilger on Bloomberg: How Technology Is Impacting the American Workforce

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