Report

The Future of Work in US – How to rebuild the links among work, opportunity, and economic security for all Americans in the face of accelerating change

The challenge facing the United States today is to rebuild the links among work, opportunity, and economic security for all Americans in the face of accelerating technological change.

The world is in the midst of a transformation in the nature of work, as smart machines, artificial intelligence, new technologies, and global competition remake how people do their jobs and pursue their careers. The Work Ahead: Machines, Skills, and U.S. Leadership in the Twenty-First Century focuses on how to rebuild the links among work, opportunity, and economic security for all Americans in the face of accelerating change. The United States needs to create new work opportunities, better career paths, and higher incomes for its people, while developing a highly skilled and adaptable workforce. To prosper and to lead, the United States needs to find new ways to meet the workforce challenges of the twenty-first century.

The seven major findings of the Task Force are:

  • Accelerating technological change will alter or eliminate many human jobs. Although many new jobs will be created, the higher-paying ones will require greater levels of education and training. In the absence of mitigating policies, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are likely to exacerbate inequality and leave more Americans behind.
  • Embracing technological innovation and speeding adoption are critical for U.S. national security and economic competitiveness. Openness to trade and immigration are also vital for maintaining U.S. technological leadership.
  • Strong economic growth that leads to full employment has been the most consistently successful approach for raising the wages of Americans.
  • The lack of accessible educational opportunities that are clearly and transparently linked to the changing demands of the job market is a significant obstacle to improving work outcomes for Americans.
  • U.S. efforts to help displaced workers are inadequate. Unemployment insurance is too rigid and covers too few workers, and retraining programs are not based on the best global models.
  • Too many jobs are going unfilled because of restrictions related to credentialing, mobility, and hiring practices. More could also be done to create new opportunities in higher-unemployment regions.
  • Current workplace benefits—from sick leave to retirement plans—are too often available only to full-time employees, and are not adapted to the emerging world in which more workers are part-time, contract, or gig workers.

The Work Ahead offers recommendations for government, business, educators, and nongovernmental institutions. Moving forward will require creativity and courage by leaders in many fields—not business as usual. Many of the recommendations draw from smaller-scale initiatives already underway around the country. Some would be immediately beneficial, while others will require long-term commitments.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at The Work Ahead: Machines, Skills, and U.S. Leadership in the Twenty-First Century 

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