Back in the day, you got a trade, an apprenticeship or a qualification and you had a job for life. The Chinese call it "the iron rice bowl". But today, traditional industries are closing or moving overseas and being displaced by new technologies in a time span much shorter than the average a working life.
So what are we going to do about it? And are the government right to encourage apprenticeships and training in a single industry? Mark Wrigley takes a look at how having no career plan has kept him on top of technological change.
"Once a physicist, always a physicist" - Mark Wrigley graduated in physics in the 1970s in the days when "coding" came on punch cards and pocket calculators were an expensive luxury. His career has encompassed sales, marketing and product management in fields as diverse as mobile communication infrastructure and optical gas turbine blade temperature measurement. He is now semi-retired, a Council Member of the Institute of Physics and runs his own company "Alternative-Photonics", which works to democratise science and technology.