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OECD Employment Outlook 2019

The Future of Work

image of OECD Employment Outlook 2019

The 2019 edition of the OECD Employment Outlook presents new evidence on changes in job stability, underemployment and the share of well-paid jobs, and discusses the policy implications of these changes with respect to how technology, globalisation, population ageing, and other megatrends are transforming the labour market in OECD countries. The report discusses how labour market regulation might be used to extend rights and protections beyond standard employees, as well as to rebalance bargaining power between employers and workers. It analyses how collective bargaining and social dialogue can be mobilised to address emerging challenges in the labour market, looking at the role of government, social partners and new forms of collective organisation. The role of adult learning is also addressed, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable groups. And finally the report also assesses challenges for social protection policies, presenting evidence on the support gaps affecting different types of worker, and discussing reform avenues for preserving and strengthening the key stabilising role of social protection systems.

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Editorial: A transition agenda for a Future that Works for all

The times they are a-changin’. Labour markets are under pressure from the combined effects of several megatrends. Technological progress and greater integration of our economies along global supply chains have been a bonus for many workers equipped with high skills and in expanding occupations, but a challenge for others with low or outdated skills in declining areas of employment. Digitalised business models often employ workers as self-employed rather than as standard employees.People are living and working longer but facing more frequent job changes and the risk of skills obsolescence. Inequalities in earnings and job quality have been widening in many countries. The global financial crisis of 2008‑09 led to serious job losses, leaving deep wounds that have not fully healed even a decade after its onset. Turning to the future, the projected slowdown in the global economy over the next two years casts a shadow over short-term job prospects. Beyond that, it is clear that 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 pace and depth of the digital transformation is likely to be startling. Orders of industrial robots have increased threefold in just over a decade and are projected to double by 2020, while the amount of private equity invested in artificial intelligence has doubled over the past year. Connecting those at risk of being left behind with better job prospects should be the policy compass to a more inclusive, fairer and sustainable economy and society.

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