One of the secular developments in the labour markets around the world over the past three decades has been the gross reallocation of labour from manual to cognitive work and the increasing importance of the non-routine content of jobs. This paper analyses the age dimension of changes in the task composition of jobs in 12 European countries between 1998 and 2014. We use the approach proposed by Autor et al. (2003) and Acemoglu & Autor (2011), and combine O*NET occupation content data with EU-LFS individual data to construct five task content measures: non-routine cognitive analytical, non-routine cognitive interpersonal, routine cognitive, routine manual, and non-routine manual physical. We estimate occupation- level and worker-level regressions and find that the shift away from routine work and toward non-routine work occurred much faster among workers born between 1970 and 1989 than among workers born between 1950 and 1969. In the majority of countries, the ageing of the workforce occurred more quickly in occupations that were initially more routine-intensive, as the share of young workers in these occupations was declining. Individuals in these occupations were increasingly likely to be unemployed, especially if they were between the ages of 15 and 34.

keywords: task content of jobs, routinisation, ageing, occupational change, O*NET

JEL codes: , ,

publication year: 2017

language : English

thematic categories :

publishing series : IBS Working Paper

publication number : 01/2017

ISSN : 2451-4373

additional information: We thank the participants of the Jobs and Development Conference in Washington, D.C., and the 2016 NTA-11 conference in Saly for their insightful comments. This paper was financially supported by the Network for Jobs and Development under the auspices of the World Bank. This paper uses Eurostat data and Central Statistical Office of Poland data. Eurostat has no responsibility for the results and the conclusions, which are those of the authors. The usual disclaimers apply. All errors are ours.

Szymon Górka

Institute for Structural Research (IBS)

Wojciech Hardy

Institute for Structural Research (IBS)

Roma Keister

Institute for Structural Research (IBS)

Piotr Lewandowski

Institute for Structural Research (IBS)

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