The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Headhead of Abasi Sanders, Youth Programs Manager, looking into camera and smiling. He is wearing a black sweater and there is a large plant in the background.



Author: Abasi Sanders, Youth Programs Manager

Write to Abasi


Are you ready for the 4th Industrial Revolution? In this post, we’ll explore how this change will impact future jobseekers.

In our Green Collar Careers workshop we discuss the implications of the 4th Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 with youth. They learn that in the near future technology will once again change our understanding and interaction within our society.

Imagine a world where you can use your phone to hail a self-driving vehicle to get to your destination. In this world, teenagers are developing the schematics for parts of a small scale machine which they will make on a 3D printer. Robots deliver items to your door. Artificial intelligence is also capable of making old paintings come to life or politicians “say” words that were never said.
To put this in context, when I graduated from university in 2000, mobile phones were not popular commodities. Today 86% of Canadians have a mobile phone. I can use my phone to buy any product and have it delivered to my house in an hour, listen to podcasts, record 4k video, and track my sleep patterns. The possibilities only increase with time.
Before mobile smart phones, we began using the internet on home computers. Could you imagine your life without the internet today?  My generation can. When I graduated from high school in the mid-90s, people were asking: “What is the internet?” This was at a time when research involved using the now ancient library system. Our use of the internet has increased exponentially in the last 25 years. Today, information to answer any question or idea can be found in seconds with a voice prompt to ‘Siri’. So much knowledge is at our fingertips thanks to technology.
Technology is only going to become faster with the 4th Industrial Revolution. 
How will this dramatic change affect the economy?

Future Jobseekers

The bulk of our Green Collar Career participants are young people who are generally tech-savvy when compared to their parents. When concepts of the 4th Industrial Revolution are introduced, most are completely unaware. And not surprisingly, many are concerned. They are concerned about the replacement of jobs by robots and artificial intelligence.
One grade 9 student at a Scarborough, Ontario school associated the 4th Industrial Revolution with the Terminator movie franchise.
A small minority of students we speak to are excited about the potential opportunities. The opportunities are what we highlight.
During our workshop, participants are informed about what to prepare for in the coming economy using RBC’s Humans Wanted report. Society is moving from a job economy to a skills economy. Here are a few tips to better prepare you.

1. Enhance critical thinking skills

The coming economy will emphasize daily thinking in everyday work. Employees will have to work together to solve problems. Being able to create solutions within a team setting will be a sought-after skill. Being a lone thinker will not be enough! Work on your communication skills as often as possible to get practice. Multidisciplinary capabilities will get you noticed.

2. Scripted work goes the way of the dinosaur

Low skill jobs are set to be replaced by AI and robots. This means that redundant activities will not need a human touch. Focus on skills that require human interaction, technology, EQ and an ability to solve new problems.

3. The option of retirement from a position within the same company may not exist

Job seekers should focus on gaining skills. If you feel that your current employment does nothing to expand your skills, find ways to enhance your skill set. This increases both your marketability and value in a competitive job market. Many employers have turned to external contract-based openings for new hires. These positions have a limited time frame, so use this to your advantage to gain valuable experience that you could use in future positions.

4. Digital Literacy and fear of the unknown

Keep learning! Learn to use apps and computer software for productivity and entertainment. Keep informed of new trends in technology and how you may get those skills. Learn how to use education to propel you forward. Having certifications and training in technology will make your resume stand-out.
We are embarking on a voyage through an unknown world. Learn to embrace it and make it you own.

Students can learn about the 4th Industrial Revolution and more in our Green Collar Careers Workshop.