Report

Digitalization and Employment, A Review

This report is a review of the publicly available literature which examines the new labour market opportunities brought about by digital transformation. It identifies gaps and potential avenues for future research.

Governments are grappling to adequately respond to the rapid pace of labour market change brought about by digitalization and automation as public policies to protect workers lag behind this digital transformation. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a reconceptualization of the nature of work, the workplace and has accelerated the shift of government services and people’s livelihoods on to virtual and digital platforms. Now decision-makers and workers are faced with massive systemic changes that will affect their future working lives and communities.

This report is a scoping review of the publicly available literature which examines the new labour market opportunities brought about by digital transformation. It identifies gaps and potential avenues for future research. It also explores how some policies may be designed to offset the negative impacts of labour market transformation on individuals and communities.

The digitalization of the labour market encompasses a variety of occupations from on-demand logistics services like Deliveroo, to highly skilled software developers working remotely to individuals (or ‘influencers’) earning via data transactions generated by social media channels and livestreaming services. Digital workers are distributed around the world with an asymmetrical organization of labour. Digital workers are generally young and male. The skill levels of digital workers are heterogeneous, though with greater representation among those who are highly skilled. Overall, digitalization has penetrated almost all major economic sectors and changed the structure of the labour market.