The Productivity Commission released its first draft report on the future of work today. It wants submissions on this & the 3 subsequent reports in by 20 January.
The 4 reports & their expected release timing:
- New Zealand, technology & productivity, September
- Employment, labour markets & income, October
- Education & skills, November, and
- Preparing New Zealand for the future, December.
The first report’s draft findings, summarised:
- There is little, if anything, in the available data to suggest imminent disruption to work. In an environment of rapid technological change & diffusion, one would expect to see high rates of firm startups, high productivity growth & high levels of job churn. Yet across the developed world, the data indicates the opposite
- The likely pace & scale of technological change in New Zealand will depend to a significant extent on developments overseas. The vast majority of technologies used by New Zealanders in business, work & everyday life were created offshore, and that is likely to remain the case. If technological progress speeds up overseas, it will also do so here. Likewise, New Zealand will not be immune to an overseas slowdown in technological development
- Technological & labour-market trends in New Zealand will tend to lag behind those overseas and will be more muted, if recent history is anything to go by. This country is small, far from its trading partners and has historically done a poor job of adopting new technologies. While poor adoption may mean less disruption to work, it also results in lower productivity growth, lower income growth & fewer resources to pay for the things New Zealanders value
- New Zealand needs to embrace technology, not treat it as a threat. The problem is not that there is too much technological change & adoption; there is too little. More & faster technology adoption will open up opportunities to improve New Zealanders’ living standards. Embracing technology implies supporting people who are less able to adjust, preparing young people for the future, and setting policies & institutions that encourage the entry & uptake of new knowledge, processes, goods & services by firms. There are things New Zealand can do now to support smoother transitions and to seize these opportunities.
Attribution: Commission report.