Academic Literature

Emerging Occupations in Asia – Most new job titles are for highly-skilled positions that involve data and information and communication technology

This paper explores how technology affects labor market outcomes in Asia through the creation of new types of work.

It investigates how workers’ characteristics can influence one’s chances of accessing emerging occupations—defined as occupation groups with new job titles. Comparisons of successive lists of the National Classification of Occupations in India, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Viet Nam find that most new job titles are for highly-skilled positions that involve data and information and communication technology. Adjusted predictions by education and sector show that access to emerging occupations are highest among tertiary-educated workers in services. Chances of success can vary greatly across age groups.

The analyses of various NCO lists find the emergence of 54 new job titles out of 2,945 (1.8%) in India 1968–2004; 114 out of 3,600 (3.2%) in India 2004–2015; 26 out of 2,338 (1.1%) in Malaysia; 18 out of 498 (3.6%) in the Philippines; and 16 out 506 (3.2%) in Viet Nam. Figure 1 shows that most new job titles primarily appear in the professionals and technicians and associate professionals divisions. India (1968–2004) has combined division shares of 94%, followed by Viet Nam at 82%, Malaysia at 80%, India (2004–2015) at 62%, and the Philippines at 45%. Recall that the ILO (2012) and Autor (2014) regard the occupations in these two divisions as high skilled due to the complexity of the knowledge required and tasks involved.

A closer look reveals that many of the new job titles identified are high skilled and directly related to ICT and the use of personal computers, reflecting rapid advances in digital technology in the 1980s and resembling Lin’s (2011) findings in the US in 1977. Most of the new job titles include engineering and data analyst positions such as software engineers, system programmers, database design analysts, computer system hardware analysts, computer quality assurance analysts, and computer security specialists. Aside from professionals and technicians and associate professionals, a third division, craft and related trades workers (middle skilled), specifically electrical trade workers, also holds significant shares of new job titles in India 2004–2015 and the Philippines. Interestingly, majority of the new job titles in this division in the case of India 2004–2015 are computer numerical control (CNC) technicians, who are machinists whose jobs entail operating computer-driven machine tools. In the Philippines, new job titles falling under the craft and related trades workers are mainly electrical technicians. By contrast, only a few new job titles have emerged among clerical support workers and service and sales workers, and almost none under elementary occupation workers despite employment growing in these occupations. Figure 2, which follows Autor’s (2014) classification of occupation groups by skill level makes this point more apparent: 62% of new job titles in India (2004–2015) are classified as high skilled, whereas it is 82% in Viet Nam (1998–2008), followed by 80% in Malaysia (1998–2008), and 61% in the Philippines (1990–2012).


When moving the level of analyses of occupation codes from job titles to occupation groups, we find 21 emerging occupations out of 116 (18%) in India’s 2004 NCO and 32 out 127 (25.2%) in the 2015 NCO. Similarly, we find 17 emerging occupations out of 132 (13.6%) in the Philippines’ 2012 NCO, 13 out of 143 (9.8%) in Malaysia’s 2008 NCO, and 10 out of 191 (5.2%) in Viet Nam’s 2008 NCO. Figure 3 shows some examples of emerging occupations with the highest proportions of new job titles, most of which are high-skilled and ICT-related occupations. Viet Nam particularly stands out for having high shares of new job titles in ICT-related occupation groups. Aside from ICT occupations, sales occupations, client information workers, and other STEM-related occupations, particularly physicists and chemists, also have high shares of new job titles.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at New Technology and Emerging Occupations: Evidence from Asia | Asian Development Bank

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