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Randstad CEO calls for OECD members to brace for digital transformation’s impact on skills needs

Digital transformation of the global economy is leading to widespread deindustrialisation and job polarisation in OECD countries. As a result, business, policy and education leaders must rethink what new skills will be needed in this new era and help workers prepare for the changes ahead, according to Randstad CEO, Jacques van den Broek.

His comment comes ahead of his contribution to the annual OECD Forum in Paris and Randstad says it serves as both a rallying cry and a caution to leaders in the OECD markets, where digital transformation is having the most profound effects on those economies.

Randstad is launching ‘Flexibility@work 2016’ today, an annual report on flexible labor and employment. This year’s report includes the sub-theme “Future of Work in the Digital Age, evidence from OECD countries”, by the University of Utrecht and the University of Leuven, showing polarisation is growing as the number of high- and low-wage jobs is rising while those paying mid-wages are diminishing. A critical reason for this trend, the company says, is the effect of automation, robotisation and outsourcing of many jobs.

van den Broek commented, “Job automation and outsourcing to markets outside of OECD is having a significant impact on our member states and their workers.

“This transformation presents both opportunities and challenges for employers, policy makers and educators, because they need to understand the powerful dynamics behind the changes and develop policies that will help workers at all levels obtain the skills they need to thrive in the high-tech era.” 

According to ‘Flexibility@work 2016’, demand for STEM skills will increasingly drive job polarisation. As more high-skill jobs are created in support of digital products and technology, a corresponding rise in low-skill employment will occur. In fact, the researchers revealed, for every high-tech job created, an additional 2.5 to 4.4 jobs are created as a result.

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