The "double crisis of middle age" and other employment challenges




Source: LA NACION

Among changing projections, one of the issues that concern and occupy the students of the future world of work is the process of transition that people will live

In the auditorium there were no more than one hundred people, most economists and academics who came to listen to some of the world's leading figures in the discussion about the future of the labor market. Within five minutes of the event, which took place in the third quarter of last year, three vectors were raised, which in 2018 became central to this debate. Carl Frey, an Oxford economist who had been predicting the destruction of hundreds of millions of jobs by automation, said he was more "optimistic" lately. Another of the panelists, Rafael Rofman, an economist at the World Bank, warned about the lack of tools to deal with something like a double middle-aged crisis: how employees of 40, 50 or 60 years old will be reconverted. And from the front row, Gerardo della Paolera, of the Bunge y Born Foundation, asked to debate on salaries in the new context. Della Paolera said that her daughters work in high-tech companies, in jobs that are supposed to be from the future, "and where the salary structure is completely flat."

These three points (the diversity of forecasts about the future of employment, the challenge for the middle-aged sectors and the effect of new technologies on salaries) dominate the agenda in 2018 on this issue. It is a debate that is full of noise, prejudice and bias, according to
LA NACION Susan Lund, economist at the consultancy McKinsey and author of a global report on the future of work. "For example, we have very clear which are the posts that are going to disappear, but it is less visible which ones are going to be created," he explains, which accentuates a bias towards pessimism. Lund says that in the United States, the overcrowding of computers between 1975 and 2015 directly destroyed 3.5 million jobs, but created more than 19 million new jobs, with a net gain of 15.75 million jobs. [19659005] Lund's forecast is that between now and 2030, between 400 million and 800 million jobs will disappear worldwide. It is less than the 2 billion missing jobs predicted by futurist Thomas Frey for the same year (not to be confused with the Oxford economist), but more than the 57 million jobs that – in this case only for the United States – foresees destruction PwC. All of these projections are contained in the metastudy on workplace futurology that began last month to survey MIT and shows how open this debate is.

Lund is also concerned about what the transition of hundreds of millions of intermediate layers will be like. (both social and age). "I think we should think about training that adds technological skills, but also more advanced social and emotional skills, which will be protagonists in this new economy, such as more efficient equipment management." Companies and the State have an important role to play, but frankly we do not have much experience in the history of capitalism in what is retraining
midcareer -from intermediate tables- on such a large scale, "says Lund.

Rofman, from the World Bank, says that" social protection in Latin America has traditionally been focused on older adults with work histories. Formal and in children, with income transfer programs such as the AUH. Instead, countries have had more difficulties in offering social protection to young adults. "For Rofman, we are entering a field of policies that are much more difficult to implement, Lund notes that Sweden and Germany already show interesting experiences in this regard. 19659005] The titles of
papers and economics seminars are no longer what they were. An academic paper from the second half of 2017 by economists David Autor (a pioneer in studies on the future of the job market) and Anna Salomons was titled
Robocalypse Now in allusion to the Francis Ford Coppola film about the apocalypse that meant the Vietnam War. A seminar organized two weeks ago by the Baikal Institute was titled
Salaries and s indicatos in cyborg economy. Both point to a subject less studied than the net aggregate of jobs as an effect of automation: what will happen to wages in this new economy. Here the news, as raised by the concern of Della Paolera in that symposium organized by Techint, does not seem to be good either.

Author and Salomons say that the technological revolution will promote the creation of new jobs, but will accentuate in parallel the enormous inequality problems that exist at the global level. In other words, many of the destroyed jobs are going to be replaced by others of lower salary and more unstable, as in fact today is happening in Argentina and in the rest of the world. "The economic savings produced by increased productivity facilitate the creation of jobs in other sectors of the economy, but this relocation, however, is usually with lower salaries," the two academics say.

In his presentation at the Baikal , data scientist Marcelo Rinesi emphasized the fact that while the new economy is more intensive in cognitive skills, the lion's share of this "extra cognition" does not reside in the brains of people, but in private platforms that work with
big data artificial intelligence and other exponential technologies. This is what happens with a marketing expert who operates primarily on Facebook, with a driver that depends on the reputation that Uber manages or with a doctor who hires Watson (IA) to improve their performance. "There is no need to explain that this is an ideal world for employers, because all the bargaining power is in the hands of technology platforms and that flattens the salary prospects," he says.

"New developments in business models (
gig economy ), software (AI algorithms), infrastructure
hardware (Internet of things, autonomous robots), deepen this gap, allowing more and more a greater proportion of the cognitive aspects of our works to depend on external tools that are not owned by large platforms ", continues Rinesi

In this context, the unions face a trap: "If the unions do not favor the incorporation of new technology, their sector becomes uncompetitive and they end up fighting with entrepreneurs and consumers for a cake of increasingly smaller productivity; while if the technology is not widespread, the most productive companies have oligopsonic power over labor (and therefore, unions have little bargaining power, even if there is a large cake of productivity). Put another way, what workers stay depends on their productivity and their bargaining power: the first requires technology, the second that many companies have, "reasons Rinesi.

As you can see, this" Transition "confronts a Pandora's box of problems and challenges, starting with the very notion of transition, as the creative Nicolás Pimentel commented to this section months ago, the workers of Generation X have a deep-rooted mental framework, by which we assume that we leave a port "A" of predictable rules, we navigate through turbulent waters and without rules, but at some point we will arrive at a port "B" with new rules, but again stable. "We have to get used to it and internalize that it is not going to never happen ", says the director of the innovation boutique + Castro, the waves will be increasingly high.



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