Human Capital Development Thought Leadership

World Development Report 2019: The Changing Nature of Work

The World Development Report (WDR) 2019 examines how technological advances are disrupting the
nature of work. These changes are characterized by five elements:

  • Technology is disrupting the nature of firms such that platform-based businesses like Amazon and
    Airbnb are out-competing traditional brick-and-mortar companies like retail stores and hotels.
    Platform companies create a network effect that connects customers, producers, and providers, while facilitating interactions through multisided business models.
  • Technology is reshaping the skills needed for work. While the demand for less-advanced skills is
    declining, it is rising for advanced cognitive, socio-behavioral, and adaptable skills. Therefore, it is
    not just that new jobs are replacing old jobs, but that existing jobs increasingly require a different
    skill set.
  • Threats to jobs from technology are exaggerated and not uniform across income groups. Although
    advanced economies have shed industrial jobs, industrial employment is rising in some developing
    countries (for example, parts of East Asia) and stable in others.
  • In many developing countries, about two-thirds of the workers remain in low-productivity jobs,
    often in informal sector firms whose access to technology is poor. Informality has remained
    remarkably stable despite economic growth and the changing nature of work. Addressing informality and the absence of social protection for workers is a pressing concern for emerging economies.
  • Technology, especially social media, affects perceptions of rising inequality that are often not
    corroborated by the data on income inequality. Increased exposure through digital communications to higher quality of life, different lifestyles, and opportunities heightens these feelings, creates frustrations, and can lead to migration or societal fragmentation.

For societies to benefit from technology’s potential, WDR 2019 has three policy recommendations:

  • Invest in human capital: particularly early childhood education, to develop higher order cognitive
    and socio-behavioral skills in addition to foundational skills.
  • Strengthen social protection: a solid guaranteed social minimum and strengthened social insurance, complemented by reforms in labor market rules in some emerging economies.
  • Create fiscal space for investments in human capital development and social protection: strengthen
    underused tax instruments, combined with eliminating tax avoidance and improving tax
    administration.

https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/32124

The World Development Report (WDR) 2019 examines how technological advances are disrupting the nature of work. These changes are characterized by five elements: Technology is disrupting the nature of firms such that platform-based businesses like Amazon and Airbnb are out-competing traditional brick-and-mortar companies like retail stores and hotels. Platform companies…
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https://mathsgee.com

Edzai Conilias Zvobwo is passionate about empowering Africans through mathematics, problem-solving techniques and media. As such, he founded MathsGee. Through this organisation, he has helped create an ecosystem for disseminating information, training, and supporting STEM education to all African people. A maths evangelist who teaches mathematical thinking as a life skill, Edzai’s quest has seen him being named the SABC Ambassador for STEM; he has been invited to address Fortune 500 C-suite executives at the Mobile 360 North America; was nominated to represent Southern Africa at the inaugural United Nations Youth Skills Day in New York; was invited to be a contributor to the World Bank Group Youth Summit in 2016; has won the 2014 SADC Protocol on Gender and Development award for his contribution to women’s empowerment in education; and has partnered with local and global firms in STEM interventions.

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