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Employment

The World Development Report 2019: The Changing Nature of Work

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Abstract in English: 
The World Development Report (WDR) 2019: The Changing Nature of Work studies how the nature of work is changing as a result of advances in technology today. Fears that robots will take away jobs from people have dominated the discussion over the future of work, but the World Development Report 2019 finds that on balance this appears to be unfounded. Work is constantly reshaped by technological progress. Firms adopt new ways of production, markets expand, and societies evolve. Overall, technology brings opportunity, paving the way to create new jobs, increase productivity, and deliver effective public services. Firms can grow rapidly thanks to digital transformation, expanding their boundaries and reshaping traditional production patterns. The rise of the digital platform firm means that technological effects reach more people faster than ever before. Technology is changing the skills that employers seek. Workers need to be better at complex problem-solving, teamwork and adaptability. Digital technology is also changing how people work and the terms on which they work. Even in advanced economies, short-term work, often found through online platforms, is posing similar challenges to those faced by the world’s informal workers. The Report analyzes these changes and considers how governments can best respond. Investing in human capital must be a priority for governments in order for workers to build the skills in demand in the labor market. In addition, governments need to enhance social protection and extend it to all people in society, irrespective of the terms on which they work. To fund these investments in human capital and social protection, the Report offers some suggestions as to how governments can mobilize additional revenues by increasing the tax base.
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151
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The Future of Work in Africa : Harnessing the Potential of Digital Technologies for All

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, August 1, 2019
Abstract in English: 
This companion report to the World Development Report (WDR) 2019: The Changing Nature of Work addresses the key themes of creating productive jobs and addressing the needs of those left behind. It builds on and contextualizes some of WDR 2019’s main messages to key specificities of the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region. It focuses on how global trends especially the adoption of digital technologies (DTs) may change the nature of work in SSA by creating new opportunities and challenges. The report is structured around three main issues that will shape the future of work in Africa, namely the human capital needs of a young and rapidly growing largely low-skilled labor force, the prevalence of informal workers and enterprises and the social protection policies to mitigate risks resulting from disruptions to labor markets. The report highlights important unanswered policy questions where new research, supplemented by new data, could yield learnings with high policy payoffs in the SSA context.
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188
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The future of work in America: People and places, today and tomorrow

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, July 15, 2019
Abstract in English: 
The US labor market looks markedly different today than it did two decades ago. It has been reshaped by dramatic events like the Great Recession but also by a quieter ongoing evolution in the mix and location of jobs. In the decade ahead, the next wave of automation technologies may accelerate the pace of change. Millions of jobs could be phased out even as new ones are created. More broadly, the day-to-day nature of work could change for nearly everyone as intelligent machines become fixtures in the American workplace.

Until recently, most research on the potential effects of automation, including our own, has focused on the national-level effects. Our previous work ran multiple scenarios regarding the pace and extent of adoption. In the midpoint case, our modeling shows some jobs being phased out but sufficient numbers being added at the same time to produce net positive job growth for the United States as a whole through 2030.
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28
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The Future of Work OECD Employment Outlook 2019

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, July 1, 2019
Abstract in English: 
The world of work is changing in response to technological progress, globalisation and ageing populations. In addition, new organisational business models and evolving worker preferences are contributing to the emergence of new forms of work. Despite widespread anxiety about potential job destruction driven by technological change and globalisation, a sharp decline in overall employment seems unlikely. While certain jobs and tasks are disappearing, others are emerging and employment has been growing. As these transformations occur, a key challenge lies in managing the transition of workers in declining industries and regions towards new job opportunities. There are also concerns about job quality. While diversity in employment contracts can provide welcome flexibility for many firms and workers, important challenges remain in ensuring the quality of non-standard work. Moreover, labour market disparities could increase further unless determined policy action is taken to ensure a more equal sharing of the costs of structural adjustment in the world of work. While there are risks, there are also many opportunities – and the future of work is not set in stone. With the right policies and institutions, the future of work can be one of more and better jobs for all.
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Global Trends to 2030: New Ways out of Poverty and Exclusion

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Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Abstract in English: 
This paper analyses the issues of poverty and exclusion in the context of the major trends that characterise the present and will shape the near future. It also explores the uncertainty that emerging trends may pose for EU societies in terms of poverty and exclusion, and looks at options and alternative paths to counteract these two phenomena.
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20
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The Future of Work - A Guide for Transatlantic Policymakers

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, December 17, 2018
Abstract in English: 
The changing nature of work and labor markets — and how best to prepare society and people for the jobs and tasks of the future — is one of the most crucial public policy challenges that countries and policymakers will face over the coming years. While it is far too early to be able to predict the pace and extent of future automation, we do believe that jobs, tasks, and work itself will evolve at a more rapid pace. We also believe that the future of work will affect each country, region, worker, and student differently. For these reasons, this guide seeks to build a bridge from the voluminous future of work research to the core ingredients of future of work policy that will need to be weighed over the coming years. Through our cross-country comparison of future of work dynamics across four case studies — France, Germany, Spain, and the United States — we highlight core factors and key takeaways. We also make the case for more agile public policies that tailor future of work policies to the specificities of countries, regions, and individuals. Ultimately, this guide serves as a resource for policymakers and citizens everywhere who are interested in exploring the essential elements of future of work policy.
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46
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MNC Trend Report 2018 - The Future of Work

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Abstract in English: 
The 8th MNC Trend Report provides an overview of the company information contained in the SA MNC Database. The database includes company finances, operations, remuneration and geographical spread of 91 South African MNCs that operate across Africa. The MNC Database has been populated with this information since 2008, which provides a unique dataset from which to analyse financial trends. This report is focused on two main areas of study. Firstly, the financial trends of the 91 sampled companies are analysed within 14 economic sectors, including revenue growth as well as revenue compared to competitors. In addition to this, each company’s profit before tax (PBT) is analysed compared to its sector and competitors. Within this context, the remuneration strategies of the top level of directors is analysed. Finally, we take a quick look at the total remuneration packages of directors compared to the lowest employees in the company.
The last section of this report, titled ‘the Future of Work’, takes a closer look at the developments around the automation of jobs. This section aims to put this within the broader context of the developing world, as opposed to the developed world. It is questioned whether the reality in the developed world is a reality in Africa, and also makes some suggestions as to how unions and workers can use technology to further their own agendas.
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94
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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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