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OECD warns: Automation could wipe out almost half of all jobs in 20 years

  • Published at 03:25 pm December 26th, 2019
Automation
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It also highlighted a squeeze on the middle class and a widespread dissatisfaction in rich countries

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has warned governments to act fast to counter the effects of automation and globalization.

Automation, robots and globalization are rapidly changing the workplace and the technologies could almost wipe out or radically alter almost half of all jobs in the next two decades, OECD said, reports Bloomberg.

According to OECD Labor Director Stefano Scarpetta, the pace of change will be “startling.”

The OECD warned the governments that they should act fast and decisively to counter the effects f automation, robots and globalization, or face a worsening of social and economic tensions.

Stating that some workers will benefit as technology opens new markets and increases productivity, young, low-skilled, part-time and gig-economy workers will be vulnerable as safety nets and training systems built up over decades to protect workers will be struggling to keep up with the “megatrends” changing the nature of work, the OECD said. 

 Mentioning that automation may be the most important issue for labour markets in the near future, Scarpetta said: “Deep and rapid structural changes are on the horizon, bringing with them major new opportunities but also greater uncertainty among those who are not well equipped to grasp them.”

The employment report is the latest OECD warning about risks to governments in advanced economies, which have already manifested themselves in a surge of support for populist political leaders. The organization has highlighted a squeeze on the middle classes, future jobs losses from technology and a widespread dissatisfaction in rich countries.

Changes in employment will hit some workers more than others -- particularly young people with lower levels of education and women who are more likely to be under-employed and working in low paid jobs, the OECD said.

The organization recommends more training and urges governments to extend protections to workers in the “grey zone,” where a blurring of employment and self-employment often comes with a lack of rights. 

It also said the union membership has fallen by almost half in the past three decades and one in seven workers globally are self employed while six out of ten workers lack basic IT skills.

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