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As job automation marches on, how can leaders guard against mass unemployment?

27 Mar 2017

In a policy brief ahead of this year’s G20 summit in Germany, Oxford Martin Citi Fellow Carl Frey has outlined the changes needed to make ‘the digital revolution work for many’ when it comes to jobs and growth.

The brief forms part of the Oxford Martin School’s contribution to the Think 20 (T20) Group, a network of organisations chosen to provide expert policy advice to the G20. The School is contributing to the work of two task forces: one on the digital economy and one on social cohesion and inequality.

The challenge addressed by Dr Frey is how governments can make the digital revolution inclusive by helping workers shift into new and better paid jobs. He identifies three approaches: supporting reallocation by providing incentives for businesses to invest in new job creation; facilitating relocation for workers who do not have the financial means to move; and developments in education both for young people and for adults who need to retrain.

Dr Frey writes: “These proposals… speak to the key themes of the G20 agenda, aiming at achieving sustainable and balanced economic growth, while promoting the spread of digital technology to boost productivity. Because the benefits of digital technology are best shared if workers shift into new and better paid jobs, as old ones are being automated away, G20 members should focus on policies to ease the transition process.”