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The benefits of job automation are not likely to be shared equally

Shahid Shahiduzzaman and colleagues write in The Conversation (5.2.18) that the productivity gains which businesses get from automating some jobs aren't being passed on to workers in the form of higher wages.

'While companies might reap significant gains in productivity from automating certain jobs, this won’t necessarily lead to pay rises for everyone. The evidence suggests businesses might pass on the gains to some workers, but not to all.

'Some 40% of all jobs are predicted to disappear with automation in Australia. The jobs most likely to go first will be those that can be easily codified, those that are repetitive, simple, structured or routine: think of jobs in manufacturing or those that involve form processing or driving a vehicle.

'More than three decades ago, the economics Nobel Laureate, Robert Solow wrote that: …you can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.

'At the time Solow’s comment created intense discussion, especially in the context of the spread of technology. But it has recently been challenged.

'Now we are starting to see the effect of automation everywhere and especially in productivity and economic growth statistics. It’s expected that automation will make a A$2.2 trillion boost to productivity in Australia between 2015 and 2030. But whether productivity gains will be redistributed equally, remains highly questionable.'

 

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