Digitalization and the Future of Work
The digital transformation is like a double-edged sword; it creates many new and productive forms of work but, at the same time, puts some jobs at high risk. According to recent OECD estimates, 14% of jobs in OECD countries are highly automatable, while another 32% could face substantial change in the tasks and skills required in the job. The highest risk is concentrated in routine jobs with low skill requirements and often low wages. Moreover, the workers affected by job losses might not be those benefiting from the new job opportunities in the digital era. It is therefore essential to explore the impact of digitalization on the world of work and its implication for labor-market policy and institutions.
Against this backdrop, the OECD was mandated to pursue analytical work on the Future of Work during the 2016 Policy Forum and the Employment and Labor Ministerial Meeting. The OECD Future of Work initiative analyzes how demographic change, globalization, and technological progress are shaping the world of work in terms of quantity and quality of jobs, as well as labor-market inclusiveness. Its key publications examine the challenges to the job market and social policy, and offer policy guidance and advice. The 2019 edition of the OECD Employment Outlook: The Future of Work is the latest analysis on the impact of megatrends on the future of work.
In addition, the OECD’s Going Digital horizontal project provides insights and analysis on how the digital transformation affects policymaking across a large spectrum of policy areas, including skills and employment. The March 2019 Going Digital Summit marked the end of the first phase (2017-2018) and beginning of the second phase (2019 - 2020) with the release of Going Digital: Shaping Policies, Improving Lives (2019). One chapter of the publication is dedicated to highlighting key challenges to ensure good jobs for all in the digital era and provide relevant policy recommendations.
The 2019 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM) was held from May to May 24, under the theme “Harnessing Digital Transition for Sustainable Development: Opportunities and Challenges.” Korea played a leading role as the Chair of the Digital Economic Policy Committee, led by Min Won Ki, in developing the “ Recommendations on Artificial Intelligence,” one of the major achievements of the 2019 MCM. It sets out four key actions for governments, including building human capacity and preparing for labor market transformation.
The OECD will help countries implement an integrated policy approach to the digital transformation. In addition, it will address new opportunities and challenges through an analysis of frontier technologies with an ongoing focus on jobs, skills, and social inclusion.