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Who can log in? The importance of skills for the feasibility of teleworking arrangements across OECD countries

COVID-19 lockdowns have radically changed the working arrangements for millions of workers. But who are the workers best positioned to work from home? Drawing on data from the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), we show that workers possessing higher levels of skills are significantly more likely to telework in OECD countries. We show that while 30% of workers could telework across the OECD, the likelihood decreases for workers without tertiary education and with lower levels of numeracy and literacy skills. The findings raise important questions with respect to the extent to which the pandemic could exacerbate existing labour market inequalities, and the extent to which these inequalities could further worsen amidst intensified technology adoption in the pandemic’s aftermath.

Published on June 25, 2020