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Employment

Digitally-enabled automation and artificial intelligence: Shaping the future of work in Europe’s digital front-runners

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, October 15, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Technology in many ways is perfectly conceived to operate in the workplace, bringing an ability to operate around the clock at increasing levels of accuracy and productivity. Since the Industrial Revolution, machines have been the ideal colleague, performing some of the most mind-numbing tasks and freeing up human partners to do more interesting and productive things. However, in the near future, new digital technologies are set to take the next step, graduating from the factory floor to the boardroom and applying themselves to more complex, cognitive activities. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are a game changer for automation in the workplace. Like ambitious young go-getters, they promise to take on more responsibility and make better decisions, and the implications for workers, companies, and policy makers are significant and pressing.
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72
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Structural Transformation in the OECD - Digitalisation, Deindustrialisation and the Future of Work

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, September 30, 2016
Abstract in English: 
In tandem with the diffusion of computer technologies, labour markets across the OECD have undergone rapid structural transformation. In this paper, we examine i) the impact of technological change on labour market outcomes since the computer revolution of the 1980s, and ii) recent developments in digital technology – including machine learning and robotics – and their potential impacts on the future of work. While it is evident that the composition of the workforce has shifted dramatically over recent decades, in part as a result of technological change, the impacts of digitalisation on the future of jobs are far from certain. On the one hand, accumulating anecdotal evidence shows that the potential scope of automation has expanded beyond routine work, making technological change potentially increasingly labour-saving: according to recent estimates 47 percent of US jobs are susceptible to automation over the forthcoming decades. On the other hand, there is evidence suggesting that digital technologies have not created many new jobs to replace old ones: an upper bound estimate is that around 0.5 percent of the US workforce is employed in digital industries that emerged throughout the 2000s. Nevertheless, at first approximation, there is no evidence to suggest that the computer revolution so far has reduced overall demand for jobs as technologically stagnant sectors of the economy – including health care, government and personal services – continue to create vast employment opportunities. Looking forward, however, we argue that as the potential scope of automation is expanding, many sectors that have been technologically stagnant in the past are likely to become technologically progressive in the future. While we should expect a future surge in productivity as a result, the question of whether gains from increases in productivity will be widely shared depends on policy responses.
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53
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Future Shocks and Shifts: Challenges for the Global Workforce and Skills Development

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, April 24, 2017
Abstract in English: 
This report presents evidence on the expanding scope of automation. After three decades of a secular decline in middle-income jobs, the bulk of low-skilled and low-income workers are now for the first time susceptible to computerization. Meanwhile, skilled jobs remain relatively resilient to recent trends in technology. In particular, workers with extraordinary social and creative skills will still remain in the workforce in 2030.
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34
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Assessing the role of migration in European labour force growth by 2030

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Abstract in English: 
This paper presents the methodology as well as the results of the joint OECD-European Commission project Migration-Demography Database: A monitoring system of the demographic impact of migration and mobility. The objective of the project is to evaluate the contribution of migration to past and future labour market dynamics across EU and OECD countries. After assessing the role of migration over the last five to 10 years in shaping the occupational and educational composition of the labour force, this project looks at the potential contribution of migration to the labour force in a range of alternative scenarios. This paper presents the results from the second part of the project: it focuses on projections over the period 2015-2030, and aims at identifying the drivers of changes in working-age population and active population in European countries, and in particular the role of migration flows.
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38
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OECD Employment Outlook 2018

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Abstract in English: 
The 2018 edition of the OECD Employment Outlook reviews labour market trends and prospects in OECD countries. Chapter 1 presents recent labour market developments. Wage growth remains sluggish due to low inflation expectations, weak productivity growth and adverse trends in low-pay jobs. Chapter 2 looks at the decline of the labour share and shows that this is partially related to the emergence of "superstar" firms, which invest massively in capital-intensive technologies. Chapter 3 investigates the role of collective bargaining institutions for labour market performance. Systems that co-ordinate wages across sectors are associated with better employment outcomes, but firm-level adjustments of sector-level agreements are sometimes required to avoid adverse effects on productivity. Chapter 4 examines the role of policy to facilitate the transition towards new jobs of workers who were dismissed for economic reasons, underlying the need of early interventions in the unemployment spell. Chapter 5 analyses jobseekers' access to unemployment benefits and shows that most jobseekers do not receive unemployment benefits and coverage has often been falling since the Great Recession. Chapter 6 investigates the reason why the gender gap in labour income increases over the working life, stressing the role of the lower professional mobility of women around childbirth.
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298
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Boosting productivity and preparing for the future of work in Germany

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, August 17, 2018
Abstract in English: 
This paper reviews policies to strengthen Germany’s productivity growth and prepare for changes in labour markets brought about by new technologies. This paper also discusses how social protection and the bargaining framework should be reformed for the future of work. Germany enjoys a relatively high labour productivity level but productivity growth has been modest in recent years. There is room to boost productivity growth by accelerating the diffusion of new technologies throughout the economy. Vigorous entrepreneurship and innovation by small and medium enterprises are key for such technology diffusion while strong broadband and mobile networks widen the scope of data-intensive technologies that can be exploited to increase productivity. Widespread use of new technologies will bring about significant changes in skill demand and work arrangements. As in many countries, Germany saw a decline in the share of middle-skilled jobs in employment. A relatively high share of jobs is expected to be automated or undergo significant changes in task contents as a result of technological change. New technologies are also likely to increase individuals engaging in new forms of work, such as gig work intermediated by digital platforms. Such workers are less covered by public social safety nets such as unemployment insurance than regular employment.
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39
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The Future of Work: Robots Cooking Free Lunches?

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Abstract in English: 
The rapid technological progress in automation, robotisation and artificial intelligence is raising fears, but also hopes, that in the future the nature of work will change significantly. There will be changes in what we do, how we form workplace relations, how we find work and the role of work in a society. Some believe that these changes will be for the better: we will need to work less and thus will have more free time. Others think that the changes will be for the worse: there will be fewer ways to earn a living. The central question of this paper is this: will adages such as ‘By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food’ and ‘No bees, no honey, no work, no money’ become obsolete? Will work disappear and with it the societal relations and inequalities that result from differing success in work? If this is going to happen, what policy options do we have to address the issue?
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68
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Building Britain's Future? The construction workforce after Brexit

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Abstract in English: 
The construction industry is of vital strategic importance to the UK. A healthy construction industry will be essential if we are to build the homes, commercial property and infrastructure that our economy and our country needs. Yet the construction industry faces a grave threat from Brexit. We have identified three significant challenges facing the construction industry: Productivity growth in construction has been stagnant, Construction faces severe and growing skills shortages, Construction has become increasingly reliant on EU migration.
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53
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Building the workforce of the future: Learning from Grow with Google

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, June 25, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Digital skills are vital for individuals and national economies to prosper in a rapidly-changing world, benefiting from the opportunities of digital and remaining resilient to potential risks. More than 90 per cent of jobs in some categories now demand digital skills. Yet in 2016, just 56 per cent of Europeans had adequate digital skills for the world they live in, and 37 per cent of the workforce lacked adequate digital skills. In this project we examined the development and approach of Grow with Google, a project which operates through national programmes matched closely to the contexts and needs of individual countries, in six case study countries (Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Nigeria) in order to identify key themes and learning to support ongoing good practice in growing a digital skills ecosystem.
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60
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Global Trends to 2030: The Future of Work and Workplaces

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Abstract in English: 
In some ways, the future of work is here; in others, it is shrouded in uncertainty or heralded with great expectations. Of course, throughout human history, work has changed, as have societies. Transformations in how and where work is conducted, by whom it is performed and under what conditions, as well as how it is remunerated and valued, have come hand in hand with changes in individual and family life, social cohesion and wellbeing, and civic and political life. Today, a number of observed mega-trends are again shifting the tectonics of work: Pervasive digital technology is opening up boundless new opportunities while at the same time blurring workplace boundaries and impacting human behaviours and expectations in ways that may still be unknown. Continuing population growth will create the biggest – but potentially most precarious and polarised – global workforce to date, with sustainability implications of an existential scale.
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14
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