UNI Global Union takes the warning signs and research seriously that indicates that jobs, as well as tasks that make up jobs, will be displaced by robots, AI and machine learning. As Philip Jennings stresses “We must work to ensure the employability of workers through up- and reskilling, lifelong learning and adaptations to our current vocational and education training as well as higher education institutions.”
The World Bank Development Report 2016 predicts rather substantial job displacements, as can be seen in the figure below. Using the albeit criticised methodology of Frey and Osbourne (2015) these job displacements will lead to a hollowing out of middle-level jobs. This will force the labour market into a time-glass shape with a growth in manual, low-skilled jobs and a growth in high-skilled ones.
Studies by the Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim (2016) and later Deloitte Consulting (2016) take another approach, and choose to look at jobs as a set of tasks. Both studies argue that the displacement of tasks is a much more accurate proxy for the change ahead.
UNI Global Union realises that job displacement due to technological change is nothing new. History has many proven examples of how jobs and skills have adapted and changed to new tools and processes. However, the scope of digital change and the speed of digital innovation, will mean that the wave of displacement ahead of us is real, is massive, and requires proactive policy and strategy change immediately.
Key to this is that we work to ensure the employability of workers through up- and reskilling, lifelong learning and adaptations to our current vocational and education training as well as higher education institutions.