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Skills, Gender and the Future of Jobs: 2017 End of Summer Reading List

Esteve Sala's picture
These recommended readings have one thing in common: they analyze the challenges ahead through different lenses.
(Photo: Dominic Chavez / World Bank)


If you are looking for a good reading list before the summer ends, we’ve compiled a selection of five recent papers and publications that touch on jobs and changing landscape of labor markets. These recommended readings have one thing in common: they analyze the challenges ahead through different lenses. How is the labor market recovering after the economic crisis? Can life-long learning become workers’ strategy for upskilling in a digital economy? Have countries improved in reducing gender gap at work? What policies can support job creation?

Accelerating Workforce Development for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Learning throughout life is a win-win for workers, companies, and countries’ economies. For individuals, life-long learning improves individual’s prospects and enriches their quality of life. For businesses, investing in workers’ skills makes sense too, since it promotes the skills needed to make them happier and more productive. According to this paper from the World Economic Forum Dialogue Series, at a time when the combination of robotics and artificial intelligence threatens the status quo of jobs and labor markets, life-long learning becomes the only way to go. You can read the full report here, as well as some of our posts about the impact of technology on jobs.


Gender differences in wages and leadership

Gender wage gap and women’s underrepresentation in leadership positions exist at remarkably similar magnitudes across countries at all levels of income per capita. Why? And what can be done to address this? This new report from the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) shows that female participation in the labor market has improved in middle-income and, to a lesser extent, in low-income countries, but women remain severely underrepresented in top leadership positions in institutions and firms. Gender gap in wages and representation in managerial positions likely reflect an inefficient allocation of talent, with negative consequences for career growth. Read more here.


ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2017

ILO’s flagship report forecasts that global unemployment levels will remain high in the short-term, as the global labor force continues to grow. For emerging countries, it also predicts deteriorating labor market conditions. The report also focuses on the quality of jobs as well as vulnerable forms of employment, and provides policy guidance to promote decent work opportunities around the world. The 2017 report is available here.


The Fall of the Labor Share and the Rise of Superstar Firms

This paper studies the impact of technological change and a decline in the labor share of U.S. industries.  A surge in superstar firms dominating key sectors of the economy may explain the decrease in the share of GDP going to labor.  These leading firms account for large profit margins due to quickly capitalizing on technological change, and enjoy a greater share of an industry’s revenues.   The decline in the labor share is driven by between-firm reallocation in sectors with the largest increase in product market concentration. Read the full report here.


2017 Employment Outlook in OECD Countries

The OECD’s 2017 Employment Outlook provides a cross-country comparison of labor market performance in terms of the quantity and quality of jobs and inclusiveness, and looks at the labor market resilience following the 2008 economic crisis.  OECD employment is returning to pre-crisis levels, but significant challenges persist: The labor market recovery remains highly uneven, and new technologies play an even bigger role in the disruption of jobs. The report recommends policies to make sure all workers have opportunities to upskill and reskill themselves throughout their working lives. Read the document here.
 
Follow the World Bank Jobs Group on Twitter @wbg_jobs.
 

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