IMF research finds women are at higher risk for negative impacts of automation
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Commentary: Governments need to enact policies that foster gender equality to help mitigate high risk of automation for women
Author: Era Dabla-Norris & Kalpana Kochhar, IMF Blog
"Women, technology, and the future of work," 16 Nov 2018
Digitalization, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are eliminating many jobs involving low and middle-skill routine tasks through automation. Our new research finds the trend toward greater automation will be especially challenging for women. On average, women face an 11 percent risk of losing their jobs due to automation, compared to 9 percent of their male counterparts... We find that women’s jobs have a 70 percent or higher probability of automation... Our analysis shows that differences in routineness of job tasks exacerbate gender inequality in returns to labor. Even after taking into account such factors as differences in skill, experience and choice of occupation, nearly 5 percent of the wage gap between women and men is because women perform more routine job tasks... In advanced and emerging economies, which are experiencing rapid aging, jobs are likely to grow in traditionally female-dominated sectors such as health, and social services―jobs requiring cognitive and interpersonal skills and thus less prone to automation... Governments need to enact policies that foster gender equality and empowerment in the changing landscape of work:
- Provide women with the right skills...
- Close gender gaps in leadership positions...
- Bridge the digital gender divide...
- Ease transitions for workers
Author: Mariya Brussevich, Era Dabla-Norris, Christine Kamunge, Pooja Karnane, Salma Khalid & Kalpana Kochhar, International Monetary Fund
New technologies―digitalization, artificial intelligence, and machine learning―are changing the way work gets done at an unprecedented rate... [T]his SDN finds that women, on average, perform more routine tasks than men across all sectors and occupations―tasks that are most prone to automation... [W]e estimate that 26 million female jobs in 30 countries (28 OECD member countries, Cyprus, and Singapore) are at a high risk of being displaced by technology... . Less well-educated, older female workers (aged 40 and older), and those in lowskill clerical, service, and sales positions are disproportionately exposed to automation... [W]e find that about 180 million female jobs are at high risk of being displaced globally... Across sectors and occupations, underrepresentation of women in professional and managerial positions places them at high risk of displacement by technology... [J]obs created by automation, and those that will survive, will likely be more demanding in terms of technical skills and cognitive abilities than the jobs they replace... Women appear less endowed with some of the skills needed to thrive in the digital era: they are currently underrepresented in sectors anticipating jobs growth, such as engineering and ICT... Our analysis does not capture the burgeoning “gig” economy―growing employment in flexible, independent work arrangements (either part- or full-time) intermediated by digital platforms. While data constraints preclude an in-depth analysis, more flexible ways of working could make it easier for women to combine paid work with family responsibilities, potentially improving labor market outcomes.