At the 2017 WCIRB Annual Conference, a session discussed the future of work and what his reality vs hype. The speakers were:
- Ward Brooks, WCIRB Vice President, Research
- Bill Mudge, WCIRB President and CEO
There are a wide variety of views on this issue. Some feel that automation will significantly eliminate jobs in the future, while other feel automation of some jobs will create other job opportunities. The concern of technology having an impact on employment is hardly a new phenomena and traces back to the 1930’s when factory assembly lines were first seen. Can we automate many jobs? Maybe. Will we? That remains to be seen.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated in a March 2017 report that “increasing productivity is the only way to improve living standards….yet productivity in the last decade has advanced at the slowest rate in 75 years.” They also pointed out that job churn is also at historic low levels.
According to the US Census Bureau, from 2014 to 2024 the occupations with the highest growth expected in California include:
- Personal care aids
- Computer system analysis
- Software developers
The occupations with the largest projected decreases for California are:
- Postal service processors
- Switchboard operators
- Sewing machine operators
- Textile workers
It should be noted that most of the occupations with projected decreases are due to those jobs moving offshore, not due to those no longer being needed.
The gig economy is expected to lead to a higher percentage of self-employers and part-time employed workers. Thus far, growth in these areas has not been seen. What has changed for many is not what they are doing but the platform. Limo drivers still drive limos, but now they get a significant amount of their work through UBER. The statistics show there are not more self-employed workers, but instead they now secure their jobs through web sites and apps instead of through traditional advertising.
Projections from a variety of sources expect continued California insured payrolls to increase 40% through 2024 both through a combination of increasing wages and new job creation. The push for higher minimum wages will have an impact on this.
- We have lived through tech revolutions before.
- Yes, technology can destroy jobs but it also creates new ones.
- The future of worker is complex; societal, political and technological.
- The gig economy creates new opportunities and enables new ways to work.