6.1. Jobs

ICT specialist occupations and other ICT task-intensive occupations made a positive contribution to employment growth in almost all countries between 2011 and 2017, including in countries where employment fell overall. In Luxembourg, where employment increased by 21% over this period, ICT specialists accounted for one-in-ten new jobs, and a further three jobs were in other ICT task-intensive occupations. In the United States, employment grew by around 10%; one third of these additional jobs were in ICT task-intensive occupations.

ICT specialists are most likely to work in Information industries, whereas ICT task-intensive occupations are pervasive in a variety of sectors. In the countries presented, approximately a quarter to a half of employees in the information industries are ICT specialists. Other ICT task-intensive occupations make up a relatively small share of ICT industries’ employment in most countries. These nevertheless represent a majority of ICT-related employment in other industries, which employ around four people in other ICT task-intensive occupations for every one ICT specialist, on average.

The ways in which digital technologies are changing jobs, and the implications arising therefrom, is a key concern for workers, employers and governments. Identifying the tasks that are most likely to be substituted by technology – those involving basic exchange of information, buying and selling, and simple manual dexterity – and the workers performing them helps to shed light on what the future of work may look like. The OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) dataset provides a detailed breakdown of the tasks workers perform on the job. Each worker can thus be assigned a probability of being impacted by digital technologies, and by automation, in particular. According to Nedelkoska and Quintini (2018), 14% of jobs across all countries in the sample have a high (over 70%) likelihood of being automated, while another 32% have a 50% to 70% probability of facing significant change. Workers in these jobs perform several automatable tasks, alongside tasks that are not currently automatable. Meanwhile, the estimates also suggest that about a quarter of jobs have a less than 30% chance of automation. Overall, these estimates indicate that automation could affect a wide range of jobs, though the nature and extent of these impacts will vary greatly across occupations, industries and countries.

The estimates also highlight significant differences across countries, with automation highly likely to affect between 6% and 33% of all jobs. Similarly, the share of jobs estimated to have a significant likelihood of change varies between 23% and 43% of all jobs. These, however, are not necessarily the jobs displaying the lowest skill requirements. Marcolin et al. (2018) show that the relationship between skill and routine intensity is negative but not very strong, and insignificant for jobs which display medium routine intensity.

Did You Know?

For every 10 additional jobs created in the European Union between 2011 and 2017, four were in ICT task-intensive occupations.

Definitions

ICT specialists are individuals employed in tasks related to developing, maintaining and operating ICT systems and considered, where ICTs are the main part of their job. The operational definition applied here corresponds to the following ISCO-08 occupations: 133 (Information and communications technology service managers), 215 (Electrotechnology engineers), 251 (Software and applications developers and analysts), 252 (Database and network professionals), 351 (Information and communications technology operations and user support), 352 (Telecommunications and broadcasting technicians), and 742 (Electronics and Telecommunications Installers and Repairers). For further details, see OECD and Eurostat (2015).

ICT task-intensive occupations have a high propensity to include ICT tasks at work ranging from simple use of the Internet, through use of word processing or spreadsheet software, to programming. See page 4.3 for more details on the occupations included.

Information industries combines the OECD definitions of the “ICT sector” and the “content and media sector” (OECD, 2011). While this definition includes detailed (three- and four-digit) ISIC Rev.4 industrial activities (UN, 2008), in this analysis it is approximated by the following ISIC Rev.4 (two-digit) Divisions, on account of data availability: “Computer, electronic and optical products” (Division 26), “Publishing, audiovisual and broadcasting activities” (58 to 60), “Telecommunications” (61), and “IT and other information services” (62 to 63).

Measurability

Changes in employment levels in each country can be “normalised” to highlight the relative contributions of the different occupation groups to the total change in employment between two periods. The aggregate increase or decrease in employment in each occupation group is expressed as a percentage of the total absolute change in employment in each country. The gains and losses represent the sum of occupation groups with positive changes and the sum of occupation groups with negative changes, respectively. Using a finer occupation breakdown would produce different estimates for total gains and losses, though total net changes would remain the same.

Contributions to changes in total employment, by occupation, 2011-17
As a percentage of total absolute changes in employment
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Source: European Labour Force Surveys, national labour force surveys and other national sources, December 2018. See 1.

1. ICT specialist occupations are defined by three-digit groups of the 2008 revision of the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-08): Information and communications technology service managers (133), Electrotechnology engineers (215), Software and applications developers and analysts (251), Database and network professionals (252), Information and communications technology operations and user support (351), Telecommunications and broadcasting technicians (352) and Electronics and telecommunications installers and repairers (742).

ICT task-intensive occupations are defined according to the taxonomy described in: Grundke, R., Horvát, P. and M. Squicciarini (forthcoming), “ICT intensive occupations: A task-based analysis”, OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Working Papers.

Other ICT task-intensive occupations include the following three-digit ISCO-08 Groups: Business services and administration managers (121); Sales, marketing and development managers (122); Professional services managers (134); Physical and earth science professionals (211); Architects, planners, surveyors and designers (216); University and higher education teachers (231); Finance professionals (241); Administration professionals (242) and Sales, marketing and public relations professionals (243).

For Canada, data refer to 2011-16.

For Japan, data refer to 2011-15.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888933930516

Employment in ICT specialist and ICT task-intensive occupations within and outside information industries, 2017
As a percentage of total employment
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Source: European Labour Force Surveys, national labour force surveys and other national sources, December 2018. See 1.

1. ICT specialist occupations are defined by three-digit groups of the 2008 revision of the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-08): Information and communications technology service managers (133), Electrotechnology engineers (215), Software and applications developers and analysts (251), Database and network professionals (252), Information and communications technology operations and user support (351), Telecommunications and broadcasting technicians (352) and Electronics and telecommunications installers and repairers (742).

ICT task-intensive occupations are defined according to the taxonomy described in: Grundke, R., Horvát, P. and M. Squicciarini (forthcoming), “ICT intensive occupations: A task-based analysis” OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Working Papers.

Other ICT task-intensive occupations include the following three-digit ISCO-08 groups: Business services and administration managers (121); Sales, marketing and development managers (122); Professional services managers (134); Physical and earth science professionals (211); Architects, planners, surveyors and designers (216); University and higher education teachers (231); Finance professionals (241); Administration professionals (242) and Sales, marketing and public relations professionals (243).

Information industries cover the following ISIC Rev.4 Divisions: Computer, electronic and optical products (26); Publishing, audiovisual and broadcasting (58 to 60); Telecommunications (61) and IT and other information services (62, 63).

For Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Portugal, Turkey and the EU28 aggregate, data refer to 2015.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888933930535

Likelihood of automation or significant change to jobs, 2012 or 2015
As a percentage of all jobs
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Source: Nedelkoska and Quintini (2018). See 1.

1. Jobs are at high risk of automation if their likelihood of being automated is at least 70%. Jobs at risk of significant change are those with a likelihood of being automated estimated at between 50% and 70%. Data are sourced from Nedelkoska and Quintini (2018), “Automation, skill use and training”, OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Paper, No. 202, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/2e2f4eea-en.

The data for the following 24 countries from the first round of PIAAC refer to the year 2012: Australia, Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the Russian Federation (excluding Moscow), Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom (England and Northern Ireland) and the United States. Data for the remaining countries refer to 2015 and are sourced from the second round of the first wave of the PIAAC survey.

For the Russian Federation, the PIAAC sample does not include the population of the Moscow municipal area. The data published, therefore, do not represent the entire resident population aged 16-65, but rather the population of the Russian Federation excluding the population residing in the Moscow municipal area.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888933930554

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