Volume 2: Developing Country Trends and Insights from Four Country Case Studies
October 19, 2018
The future of work has recently attracted much attention from a variety of institutions, from governments to universities to private companies and news outlets: a simple Google search of the term future of work produces more than two billion results. Our world of work—both in rich and poor countries—is changing fast. Technology, globalization, environmental changes, and shifting demographics are impacting workplace environments and the types of jobs that will be available in the future. Everyone can relate to these issues, since people depend on work for their livelihoods. This volume presents a summary of the future of work discussion in developing countries and provides insights from four country case studies: Brazil, India, Kazakhstan and Nigeria.
Much of the current discussion on the future of work centers on fast-paced technological changes and the perceived job losses and transformations in Western economies. The focus is on the pace of impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), that is, how the interaction of automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, and other technological drivers will have an unprecedented and distinctive disruption in the labor market in terms of its “velocity, scope and systems impact”. In the developing world, other forces beyond technology stand poised to impact labor markets. First, these countries are rapidly urbanizing, creating challenges for cities in terms of infrastructure, job creation, and basic social services. Second, different regions are following varied demographic transition paths that will affect the number of potential workers, the composition of the workforce, and the types of jobs created. Third, global trends like increased trade, environmental challenges, and migration will also continue to create challenges and opportunities in labor markets around the world. At the same time, many economies are facing “jobless growth” and grappling to create meaningful work opportunities for their citizens.
Managing the future of work challenges will require responses from individuals, governments, educational institutions, non-government and civil society organizations (CSOs), and companies on several fronts. Better education systems and reskilling to adapt to changing technological disruptions will without doubt be important, but economies also need to create more and better jobs, and safety nets and social protection systems will need strengthening to help workers transition through the different stages of their working lives. Economies will need to create more and better work opportunities, even with the disruptions taking place. We cannot simply give up on work—we need to shape its future and defend it.
Romina Bandura is a senior fellow with the Project on Prosperity and Development and the Project on U.S. Leadership in Development at CSIS. MacKenzie Hammond is a program coordinator for the CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development (PPD) and Project on U.S. Leadership in Development (USLD)This report would not have been possible without the generous support of Chevron and the Royal Danish Embassy in Washington, D.C.