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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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Executive summary

The world of work is changing in response to technological progress, globalisation and ageing populations. In addition, new organisational business models and evolving worker preferences are contributing to the emergence of new forms of work. Despite widespread anxiety about potential job destruction driven by technological change and globalisation, a sharp decline in overall employment seems unlikely. While certain jobs and tasks are disappearing, others are emerging and employment has been growing. As these transformations occur, a key challenge lies in managing the transition of workers in declining industries and regions towards new job opportunities. There are also concerns about job quality. While diversity in employment contracts can provide welcome flexibility for many firms and workers, important challenges remain in ensuring the quality of non-standard work. Moreover, labour market disparities could increase further unless determined policy action is taken to ensure a more equal sharing of the costs of structural adjustment in the world of work. While there are risks, there are also many opportunities – and the future of work is not set in stone. With the right policies and institutions, the future of work can be one of more and better jobs for all.

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