Digitalization is transforming the shape of our workforce

Report explores how low and high-digital-content job roles are changing
Digitalization is ubiquitous and it’s transforming the way we work. According to a Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program study, it’s also transforming the shape of our workforce and the basic skills needed to enter it.Digital content
The study looked into the changes to digital content of 545 occupations across the U.S., ranking them on a scale from high-digital content to low-digital content. The report suggests that the higher the digital content of your occupation, the lower the percentage of your role that will be at risk of automation.
While digitization improves efficiency at the high end of the job market, leading to higher earnings, it devalues some rote work at the lower end of the spectrum. The report suggests that improved training is required so that the new digital workplace does not lead to increased socioeconomic disparities.
Mark Muro, a senior fellow at Brookings and the report’s author, said: “We definitely need more coders and high-end IT professionals, but it’s just as important that many more people learn the basic tech skills that are needed in virtually every job. That’s the kind of digital inclusion we need. In that respect, not everybody needs to go to a coding boot camp but they probably do need to know Excel and basic office productivity software and enterprise platforms.”
The report found that between 2002 and 2016, occupations with a high-digital content had more than tripled, while employment within occupations with a low-digital content had declined from 56 to 30 percent. Much of this was down to the changing nature of low-digital-content jobs themselves: between 2010 and 2016, 48 percent of low-digital-content jobs became medium or high-digital-content occupations.
Businesses should begin thinking more carefully about their human workforce, according to the report’s author, ensuring they are exploiting the human, soft skills that can’t be replicated by computers.
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