G20 seeks to ease shift to hi-tech labour market

24 Jul 18

G20 finance ministers have agreed to prioritise policies that will help people cope with technological change and the future of work.

Following their meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 nations endorsed a wide-ranging policy menu including 80 measures on tax, public spending and data measurement.

All are framed by four objectives: harnessing technology for growth and productivity; supporting people during transitions; securing sustainable tax systems; and ensuring evidence-based decision making.

In particular, the policies emphasised the future of work, noting that some workers were likely to face disruption and possibly negative long-term effects as a result of the rapid take up of technology.

“Countries may explore policies to enable people to develop new skills and increase their adaptability, and to provide economic security for all,” the menu stated.

“For example, they could scale up and improve the design of active labour market policies, encourage life-long learning opportunities and/or strengthen social safety nets.”

The menu also emphasised the importance of gender and called on countries to adopt policies to encourage women into science and technical education and careers.

“Policies could be considered to facilitate women’s participation in the labour force, by improving access to quality child-care services or reducing disincentives in some tax systems for second earners to work,” the document said.

The menu was drafted with the support of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the International Labour Organisation, as well as all the G20 nations.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said: “New technologies and rapid advances in digitalisation, artificial intelligence, and automation hold both enormous potential and significant challenges.

“I am optimistic that with a comprehensive and coordinated policy response to facilitate change, the benefits of this new wave of technologies will by far outweigh the downsides.

“This response must include continued investment in education, lifelong learning and appropriate social safety nets.”

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