Several studies published in international economic literature since 2013 have attempted to estimate the percentage of today's jobs potentially at risk as new automation capabilities arise. These studies, most of which are based on foreign data and focus exclusively on job cuts, consider the potential effects on job numbers could be significant if not massive, but fail to come to any sort of agreement on the magnitude of this risk.
A conclusion on this matter is of crucial importance, however, because this is the foundation on which changes in public policy must be built. Such changes differ in magnitude and nature depending on how fast or sudden the transformations are, whether they are minor or massive, and focused or not on specific are-as of expertise, geographic areas or job categories.
This is why the Conseil d’orientation pour l’emploi wished to expand and refine the analysis by fully examining the foreseeable impacts of the new wave of technological innovations on work and employment.
In this first Volume, it sought to assess the observed and foreseeable impacts:
- on the number of jobs (in terms of jobs cut and created);
- on job structure (What businesses and sectors are the most affected? How are professions liable to change? What types of skill sets will be given priority in the future?);
- on job locations, both nationwide (What local labour markets could be the most affected) and interna-tionally (Could technologies trigger the reshoring of jobs in France?).
To this end, it asked the General Secretary of the Council to conduct a statistical study, using French individual data from the Working Conditions survey, with the following objectives:
- quantifying the percentage of jobs potentially affected by automation, whether they might be at risk of being cut or transformed;
- determining the overall results by profession, again in terms of the risk of being eliminated or transformed.
This study showed that:
- less than 10% of existing jobs are subject to cumulative vulnerabilities liable to threaten their exist-ence due to automation and digitalisation;
- but half of existing jobs are liable to change in terms of content, from significantly to very significantly;
- technological advances should continue to promote qualified and highly qualified jobs: of those that may be vulnerable, over-represented professions with respect to volume or their percentage of total jobs, are often relatively unqualified or less qualified jobs.
For the second volume of this report, which will be published in the Spring, the Council plans to review exactly what is at stake in terms of skill sets, professional mobility, organisation of working hours and man-agement methods, working conditions and support for innovation, taking into account the uncertainties associated with the phenomenon based on different scenarios. It will also formulate public policy recommendations covering all fields of work and employment.