All skill development and workforce training occurs within the context of a regional labor market.  Today's globally-interconnected economy is characterized by rapidly advancing automation, like robotics, disruptive technologies, and innovations that cause industry sectors to transform on an ongoing basis.

Understand the Impact of Automation on Industry Restructuring

Business innovations, like automation or artificial intelligence, and economic pressures lead to the restructuring of industries.  This results in changes in their industry staffing patterns, and this impacts the type of skilled labor that businesses employ.

So, modified or new occupations arise from job classifications that are constantly evolving and emerging.  Businesses may even combine duties and functions, drafting new job descriptions to create different mixes of requisite skill sets.

The World Economic Forum released Towards a Reskilling Revolution: A Future of Jobs for All that offers insight into this dynamic.

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The Impact of Automation on the Future of Work

Many economists and policy makers are seeking to understand the potential impacts of increasing automation and use of artificial intelligence in the workplace.  Some of the questions are: 

  • What occupations will be affected? 
  • How many occupations might be changed? 
  • How many positions might be eliminated? 
  • Which ones? 

While these are challenging issues, there are a number of studies and reports that have been published on this topic in the last several years. To help keep workforce professionals informed, ETA staff have compiled a list of such studies, along with links to their location on the internet.

ETA has compiled a bibliography of studies on the impact of automation—many of which use O*NET occupational information—along with selected other descriptors (like the amount of interaction with people) in the analysis.

The bibliography endeavors to be comprehensive, but cannot assert that it includes everything that might be relevant.  It can serve as a useful introduction to this topic and help inform thinking about how the workforce system may need to respond to such changes in the coming years.