Cognizant’s releases its 21 Places of the Future Report

Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Ben Pring, Managing Director for the Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant, discuss the company’s 21 Places of the Future report.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: We all know that Silicon Valley and New York City are hubs of innovation and industry. But where are the places of the future, those places where employers and different sectors are going to set up shop? Well the Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant just released their survey, "21 Places of the Future." And some of their answers may surprise you.

Joining me now is Ben Pring. He is co-founder of the Center for the Future of Work, and co-author of the just released book, "Monster: A Tough Love Letter on Taming the Machines That Rule Our Jobs, Lives, and Future." Ben, it's good to have you with us.

Before we get to the actual places themselves, just give us an overview. Why did you do this? And what was the criteria you used to choose these places?

BEN PRING: Yeah. Hi, Alexis. It's great to be with you.

Yeah, we've been releasing a few reports over the last few years called "Jobs of the Future," kind of trying to identify what new jobs are being created by new technology. And one of the first calls we got when we started releasing these reports was from a politician who was running to be the mayor of Milwaukee. And he said, this is a great report, Ben. But how do I build these jobs? How do I bring this here to my town?

And it started us thinking that you know, new jobs, new opportunities aren't necessarily going to be created, as you say, in the Silicon Valleys, the New Yorks, the Londons of this world. So we started trying to look at a range of different factors-- things like affordability, college education, funding, lifestyle, entertainment, culture, infrastructure. And we started pulling together a kind of a methodology to try and identify places that perhaps weren't on people's radars, but we think are going to be places of the future.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right. So let's tick through some of those places of the future. And I to say it's a pretty global list you all came up with. Let's tick through some of the sectors.

Where you see Fintech really taking hold and growing-- Nairobi, Kenya and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Talk to us about that.

BEN PRING: Yeah, I mean, two places again, probably not on a lot of people's radars. But huge innovation going on there, sort of leapfrogging in a way some of the infrastructure we see in the West. You know, they don't have that current infrastructure that we have. And so they're making a leap forward into a mobile-first kind of environment.

And huge energy there, huge kind of excitement, huge desire to participate in the fabled fourth Industrial Revolution. So yeah, A lot of things going on in those places.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: And also cybersecurity, which we know is just huge. You see this happening in a place called Silicon Wiadi in Israel.

BEN PRING: Yeah, Tel Aviv. A lot of the leading edge technology for cyber, which is clearly one of the most important jobs of the future. You know, everything that we're building with technology now rests on foundations that we can see are pretty insecure, frankly. So the need for cybersecurity-- next generation cybersecurity-- couldn't be more important.

And because of its history, because its location, there's a huge emphasis on cyber security there. And a lot of the leading edge companies now around the world are kind of tapping into that skill base, that knowledge base. And that town is kind of exploding as a result of it.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Now, the US did make the list in a few different places. I want to point out digital transplants. You say Sacramento, California, Portland, Oregon. Lisbon also on that list, over in Portugal. And also Lagos in Nigeria.

BEN PRING: Yeah, Sacramento is kind of becoming the overflow, if you like, for Silicon Valley. You know, the number one U-Haul route in America at the moment is between San Francisco and Sacramento because young people can't afford to be in San Francisco. And the next generation of talent can't afford to go there.

So it's kind of becoming a bit of a victim of its own success in a way. It's pricing out the next generation of talent. So Sacramento is soaking up elements of that.

And the same is true in Portland, Maine-- not Portland, Oregon. Portland, Maine is sort of becoming an overflow for Boston, for New York. And you know, a generation ago, you could have bought a cheap place in New York, which is worth $3, $4, or $5 million now. And young kids couldn't do that in New York. So there's a lot of kind of brick buildings in Portland, Maine, which perhaps kids are going to buy. And they're going to one day be able to cash out when they kind of experience that same growth that New York went through.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: And I also saw that for logistics, the place of the future you came up with was Da Nang, Vietnam. Is this mainly because of-- When you say logistics, are you talking about supply chain logistics?

BEN PRING: Yeah, supply chain is becoming kind of important hub, if you like, for electronics being built in that part of the world, and then being shipped into the rest of the world. So yeah, there's lots of interesting places, again, which have this interesting mix of affordability, of skills, of lifestyle, which again, are not on people's radars, but we think you're going to soak up a lot of investment and create a lot of opportunity in the next few years.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: And also Atlanta, Georgia making the list when it comes to workforce diversity. And I geographically speaking, it's sort of the southeastern, I guess tech hub, if you will. I know Austin, Texas has been one now for a bit. But talk to us about why Atlanta made the list the way it did.

BEN PRING: Yeah, again, one of the characteristics of places of the future, we think, is this mix between a kind of a cool energy, a cool vibe, and then next-generation technology skills. So Atlanta clearly has had that kind of cultural coolness for a long time-- music and youth culture. And now with the click-based jobs, the kind of digital jobs, the jobs of the future, are gravitating there. Because those young people want that mix.

They want to work hard. They want to build a career. But at the same time, they want to have a good time in an affordable place. And again, the big cities are sort of pricing that next generation of talent out.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: And also lastly-- this is the last one I hit. Sustainability. Kochi, India, and also a place in South Korea called Sangdo. Why?

BEN PRING: Yeah, Kochi again, is becoming sort of a hub for a livable city, an environmentally sustainable, a circular economy based city. And again, India is suffering from many of the same sort of characteristics we've already talked about. The big cities are pricing the next generation of talent out. And that next generation of talent is looking for new places to go.

So that's the town that's doing a good job. It's got the world's most sustainable airport-- would you believe-- basically, completely renewable energy powered airport. And again, that's attracting a lot of people-- young people, investors, policy people, trying to replicate that model. So that's another interesting one to watch.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Yeah, for sure. See, we learn something new every day. Well it's really an insightful list. Ben Pring of the Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant. Thanks for coming-- being on with us today.