The growth in automation is set to have a positive net effect on the number of jobs available in the market, shows the latest edition of Randstad’s Flexibility@Work report. The introduction of new technology will increase total numbers of employment by around 0.5 per cent annually, allaying popular fears that automation will replace workers.

paving the way for sustainable employment.

However, nearly half of the types of jobs available in various industries will change. Traditional employment structures will be supplemented by more flexible and adaptable models, with more diversity in compensation, working time arrangements and types of employment contracts. This will help people who cannot fit into traditional working patterns to enter the workforce and provide them with decent and sustainable work.

“As the Flexibility@Work 2019 paper shows, there will be no shortage of jobs in the future of work, but work will change fundamentally,” said Randstad Chief Executive Officer, Jacques van den Broek. “While embracing the future, we also need to brace for change. Shaping a future of work that is more inclusive and rewarding for all calls for a systemic transition agenda promoting social innovation through an approach that includes all stakeholders, aiming interventions at those who need them most.”

emerging work types

Job polarisation - a process changing job structures - is the decline in the number of jobs for middle-skilled workers because of the rise of digital technologies. The employment shares of highly-skilled professions and low-skilled jobs have increased, the latter to a lesser extent.

Job polarisation is reinforced by new job creation. Advancing technologies appear to lead to three new work types:

1. frontier work

2. last-mile work

3. wealth work

Frontier work involves directly producing, installing, maintaining, and deploying novel technologies. Recent examples are jobs in robot integration, search engine optimisation and even radiological medicine. Last-mile work, involves carrying out nearly-automated tasks that retain only a residual set of human components. Wealth work, arise as novel consumer luxuries driven by increased Incomes.

Many of these new roles will require new types of skills and training, with soft social skills becoming increasingly important. 

A comprehensive programme of social innovation with a holistic approach on reforming the world of work, education and social security is needed to make people resilient for the future of work.

download flexibility@work 2019.

Automation, globalisation, and workforce ageing spark public debate and concern over the future of work. Society and its leaders are facing the challenge of how they can use these developments to foster economic growth, while at the same time ensuring decent work, fair pay and adequate social security.

in this year’s edition of ‘Flexibility@Work’ we take a look at:

  • key trends impacting the future of work
  • chances and challenges for the future of work
  • themes for the future of work
  • starting points for policy discussions

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Recent decades have witnessed important changes in our labor markets, influencing the nature, quality and productivity of work. Entrepreneurs, policymakers and other thought leaders face the challenge of making use of these developments to foster economic growth, while at the same time ensuring decent working conditions, social protection, and equal opportunities for all.

The flexibility@work 2019 report draws on active scientific literature to highlight key trends that are shaping the future of work. These include automation, a force which is at the centre of the debate, as well as the shifting geography of work because of globalisation, urbanisation, workforce ageing and the rise of new work arrangements. The report also connects opportunities and challenges raised for our labour markets today and in the future to three broad societal themes - inclusion, decent work and skills - to provide starting points for policy discussions.