OECD: “Automation supplants professionals of medium qualification”

Automation equally threatens both white and blue collars. However, according to the report of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the greatest risk of replacement by robots is for employees with average qualifications – machine operators, office clerks and even policemen.

Holders of occupations with medium qualifications are on the verge of “extinction”, the OECD report on labor market changes showed. Analysts found that the share of mid-level employees in OECD countries (the most developed countries in the world) declined from 49% in 1995 to 40% in 2015. At the same time, the share of highly skilled and low-skilled employees in the labor market over the years increased by 7.6% and 1.9% respectively.

The largest reduction in the proportion of middle-skilled personnel was recorded in Austria, Switzerland and Ireland. In all OECD countries, the percentage of mid-level employees decreased by at least 2%.

As the main reasons for this transformation experts call the development of technology. For instance, in the financial sector, software almost completely replaced medium-level employees. Globalization also plays an important role. Many companies transfer tasks, requiring medium qualification, to workers in China and other countries with lower wages.

As Quartz notes, in some cases, professions of a higher or lower category are replacing middle-level professions. For example, the number of managers and scientists is growing.

In recent years there have been only two options for employment in the labor market: either routine work with a low salary, or a highly skilled job with a large salary. Scientists and managers have not yet been replaced by machines because of high level of cognitive skills required for this work. Loaders or cleaners also cannot be replaced, since computer vision systems and robotic manipulators do not yet cope with work that requires a well-coordinated coordination of movements.

Representatives of most classes are at risk of losing their jobs due to automation, but robotics most threaten the middle class. This conclusion was reached by experts from the Asilomar Conference in California. Since the 1980s, the number of jobs for middle class in the US has declined sharply.

Source: OECD / Quartz