For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"People vs machines: automation, the fourth industrial revolution and the labour force"

by Lordan, Grace; Josten, Cecily (2020)


Automation and technical innovation are currently shaping global labour markets. Research on the future of work has brought contributions that seek to determine the exact jobs that have been lost in the past, and those that may be lost in the future. Overall, this research indicates that the winners and losers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are determined by skills. While low-skilled individuals performing routine tasks remain at high risk of being replaced by automation, individuals with abstract thinking and people skills will continue to be in high demand. Understanding the differential impact automation has on people with different skills helps organisations prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It also helps policy makers determine what should be invested in when considering the stock and flow of skills, so that all citizens have some opportunity to be included in the gains from technological change.


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