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OECD Skills Outlook 2019

Thriving in a Digital World

image of OECD Skills Outlook 2019

Economies and societies are undergoing digital transformations that bring both opportunities and challenges and countries’ preparedness to seize the benefits of a digital world is largely dependent on the skills of their population. This edition of the OECD Skills Outlook 2019 aims to understand how policies, and in particular those that affect skills development and use, can shape the outcomes of digital transformation and translate into more equally shared benefits among and within countries’ populations. Ensuring people can benefit from new technologies and are not left behind requires a comprehensive and co-ordinated policy effort. This package of co-ordinated policies needs to simultaneously promote digitalisation where the latter increases productivity and well-being, and otherwise cushion its negative impacts.

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A digital world of work: Adapting to changes through occupation mobility

The chapter assesses the training needed to make it easier for workers to change occupations and estimates how much it will cost countries to help workers move away from occupations at high risk of automation. To examine the feasibility and cost of occupational mobility, this chapter presents a new set of empirical estimates based on the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC). The analysis suggests that with about one year of training, an average worker in most occupations at high risk of automation could move to a low- or medium‑risk occupation. The total cost of helping workers in occupations at high risk of automation move away from this risk varies between countries. It may range from less than 0.5% to over 2% of one year’s GDP in the lower bound estimate and from 1% to 10% of one year’s GDP in the upper bound estimate. However, these costs need not be sustained all at the same time or in one year. These are experimental estimates based on available data. They do not attempt to capture the overall training needed to help all workers face changes in their jobs, but only the training needed for the workers most at risk of losing their jobs. Policies that encourage simultaneous working and learning – through flexible education and training programmes and informal learning – are fundamental to mitigate the cost.

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