Technology, (de-)routinisation and labour markets




The link between technology and nature of work has attracted a lot of attention recently, especially in relation to automation, ICT and routine-biased technical change (RBTC).
RBTC increases demand for high-skilled workers who perform cognitive work so far non-replaceable by machines and complementary to ICT and automation, but decreases demand for middle-skilled workers who perform routine work (cognitive or manual), susceptible to substitution by robots or computers. The off-shoot of these processes is a rising demand for low-skilled work (especially in services) which is not prone to automation, and can be provided by humans relatively cheaply. Some pundits expect that ICT and robotics can replace humans in majority of current jobs over the next decade or two. These developments have serious economic and social implications. The participants of this Jobs and Development virtual discussion will try to answer the following questions:
  • Is the process of de-routinisation a global process, or only a developed world phenomenon?
  • Is the technology the only factor to blame?
  • What is the role of education changes, structural changes, globalisation?
  • What is the gender and age dimension of these developments?
  • What are the knowledge gaps in the area of technology impact on occupations and jobs?
  • Will the newly emerging jobs (occupations) compensate for technology-related destruction of jobs / occupations?
  • How can workers adapt to these changes?
  • What should be the priorities for policy-makers?

virtual debate


Confirmed speakers:

  • Indhira Santos (The World Bank)
  • Glenda Quintini (OECD)
  • Piotr Lewandowski (IBS)
  • Maciej Lis (IBS) - moderator
  Indhira Santos (World Bank)   Indhira Santos is a senior economist at the World Bank. Her research focuses on labour market issues in developing countries and, specifically, the technological changes and skills development occurring in these markets. She is part of the World Development Report (“Internet for Development”) team as well as part of the Social Protection and Labor Global Practice. She holds a PhD in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.   Glenda Quintini (OECD)   Glenda Quintini is an economist in the Employment Analysis and Policy Division at the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs. She is currently managing the division’s work on skills, skills mismatch and their use at work as well as on the new OECD Survey of Adult Skills. She is also in charge of a review of policies to help displaced workers back into jobs, with a particular focus on the implications for skills use. She holds a PhD in Economics from Oxford University.   Piotr Lewandowski (IBS)   Piotr Lewandowski is one of the founders and the President of the Board at the Institute for Structural Research. His main research interest is labour economics, with a recent focus on the interplay between technology and employment, occupational changes and heterogeneity of these changes across groups and countries. In the past he Warsaw School of Economics’ Department of Economics I and has collaborated with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and UNDP Poland.   Maciej Lis (IBS)  
Maciej Lis is an economist at IBS and a PhD candidate at the Collegium of Economic Analysis of the Warsaw School of Economics. He is an expert in econometrics, health economics and education. He has written and co-written publications on health, health expenses and productivity during the life cycle. He specialises in constructing static and dynamic microsimulation models.
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