Remarks by Angel Gurría
9 May 2019 - Paris, France
(As prepared for delivery)
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am delighted to launch the fourth edition of the OECD’s Skills Outlook – Thriving in a Digital World. Rapid digitalisation is transforming what people do in their jobs, how and where they work, and the skills they need to remain in employment.
This edition of the Skills Outlook looks at how skills policies can help ensure that people thrive – not simply survive – in an increasingly digital world. It identifies concrete measures to bridge the gaps that digitalisation threatens to widen, in the workplace, at home, in the classroom, and within and between countries. Today’s launch comes hot on the heels of our latest Employment Outlook and our “I Am the Future of Work” initiative, which focus on preparing citizens for the changing world of work.
Let me share with you some of the key findings of the study.
The OECD has been working hard to address many of these challenges and ensure citizens are able to thrive in a digital world. Recent OECD initiatives – our Skills Strategy, our new Jobs Strategy, and our “Future of Work” and “Going Digital” projects – all reinforce the key recommendations of the 2019 Skills Outlook.
First, we must help individuals to develop the right skills to thrive in a digital workplace and in an increasingly digitalised society. Traditional education is not enough. Countries must implement an effective lifelong learning system; one that quickly responds to labour market needs and offers opportunities to the low-skilled whose jobs are at high risk from automation.
Second, we need to make the most of technology for learning! This means using new technologies more – and better – for learning and adapting school curricula. Teachers cannot be left alone. They need to be supported with the best training possible to reap the benefits of new teaching and learning possibilities. The potential of open education and MOOCs to support learning and skills development can also be leveraged further. We need to broaden awareness of and participation in these learning platforms – particularly among women and low-skilled workers, who currently underutilise them.
Third, we need to bridge technology gaps when they emerge to ensure that all businesses, workers and citizens share the benefits of the digital revolution. We need to avoid the risk that digitalisation exacerbates geographical inequalities within countries. This means harnessing technologies to bridge our divides and improving access to education for those in remote areas.
Last, but not least, the digital transformation touches all of us, so everyone has to contribute to the solution. We need to ensure that countries break silos and put in place a truly comprehensive package that coordinates policy interventions related to education, the labour market, tax, research and innovation, housing and social protection. This coordination is indispensable to ensure we adopt a coherent and whole-of-government approach to realise fully the potential of digital transformation while addressing its challenges.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
One thing is certain. Digital technologies are changing the world of work. Countries need to harness the full potential of technology and ensure that its benefits are spread across all of society. To achieve this, greater investments in developing the right skills for the digital revolution are crucial, as is revisiting the way technology is used in schools, and opening up to new forms of life-long learning.
We need to anticipate change, build resilience, and reinvent the way we learn and interact with new technologies. Let’s work together to deliver better jobs and improved well-being for all our citizens. And let’s ensure that individuals are equipped with the skills they need to successfully navigate a changing labour market. The right skills to thrive in the digital world! Thank you.