Shaping the Future of Work

On 7 July the OECD launched the 2020 edition of the Employment Outlook, the OECD’s annual report on jobs and employment in OECD countries. Each edition reviews recent trends, policy developments, and prospects. The 2020 edition looks at the impact of COVID-19 on (un)employment in OECD countries.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have accelerated a number of trends that were already reshaping the world of work. There is a concern that not all workers and firms are equally well equipped to work remotely, and that this will negatively affect those who do not have the skills to work in a digital workplace. In addition, measures taken to limit the spread of the virus might have created a momentum for firms to invest in automation. In this context, reskilling is more essential than ever to ensure that workers from the hardest hit sectors can transition to other jobs or sectors.

Skills in the Digital Workplace

Started 10 months ago

What needs to happen to equip people with the skills they need in today’s more digital workplace? What is the role of business in making that happen?

virtual and face-to-face work, to adapt little by little within the season of the pandemic. opportunity to acquire more knowledge in webinar worldwide.

To equip people with skills for today's digital workplace is easy, universities succeeded with on-line education.  The problem now is academic economics.  Japan's Ministry of Education made a "Policy U-turn" to return to the traditional face-to-face classes in universities here in Japan.  Although, knowing the new "Corona Virus variant" is more infectious, the Ministry of Education has ordered all universities to return back to face-to-face classes even though the infection rate is sky-rocketing for the coming new year of 2021.   

The role of "business as usual" is to make sure that no one is left behind.  Unfortunately, there will be those who are left behind.  On January 16, 2021, Japan will have their annual university entrance exams.  This means every high school student, in the country applying for university,  will travel throughout Japan to take their exam in a variety of universities and will cluster in each of the institutions.  We professors have been ordered to wear face guards and masks for the exams while acknowledging the sacrifice.  This means that there is a chance of clusters, happening in a variety of prefectures, all over Japan contributing to the spread of the pandemic. 

After the entrance exams for each university in Japan, the universities will call the student body back to school for traditional  face-to-face classes.  The excuse is simple.  "The students are young and even if they contract the disease they will survive",  is what the ministry says.  What about the teachers above 50?  Will they survive or will they be hooked up to a ventilator or tourniquet?  They are one's left behind in a mass sacrifice for the "youthful campus-life experience" for our beloved future prodigies who might even enter the ministry of education someday.  The academic economics is behind this sacrifice.  Professors all over the country will follow orders since we signed up for this as educators.  Although, some of us will be left behind.

Professor Hirona Matayoshi

Yokohama National University


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