Fernando Leon Garcia
President, CETYS University, Mexico
"The pandemic has accelerated job destruction in some sectors while promoting the emergence of new jobs and work modalities, such as remote work..."
The current COVID-19 pandemic is significantly altering the way labor markets have historically worked. One of the most critical implications is its potential impact on the future of work, the subject of the 2019 World Development Report.
‘Machines are coming to take our jobs’ has been a mantra stretching back to the industrialization of weaving in the early eighteenth century, which raised productivity and sparked fears that thousands of workers would be deprived of a livelihood. Innovation and technological progress have continually caused disruption, but ultimately have been a net plus in fostering prosperity.
Yet today, we are riding a new wave of uncertainty due to the pandemic, which has accelerated job destruction in some sectors while promoting the emergence of new jobs and work modalities, such as remote work in other sectors. This is particularly relevant as the pace of innovation continues to accelerate and technology affects every part of our lives. At the same time, technology is creating opportunities, paving the way for new and altered jobs, increasing productivity, and improving the delivery of public services. When we consider the scope of the challenge to prepare for a changing world of work, we should bear in mind that we do not know what lies around the corner. Many children starting their schooling will work in jobs as adults that do not even exist today and our educational systems need to be designed accordingly.