G20 Leaders Summit: Session 1 : Putting People First


Remarks by Angel Gurría

OECD Secretary-General

30 November 2018 - Buenos Aires, Argentina

(As prepared for delivery)



President Macri, Excellencies,

Digitalization is transforming how we work, how we connect, how we live.

It’s everywhere and it’s fast: It took over 35 years for the telephone to be used by 25% of the US population; only 4 years for smartphones!


The digital revolution undoubtedly holds many promises.  But it also generates much anxiety among our citizens as it can equally leave many people behind. In the next 15-20 years, an estimated 14% of jobs in the OECD will be at a high risk of automation and an additional 32% will suffer considerable disruptions. 

This is why I commend President Macri for putting this issue at the top of the G20 agenda.  The least equipped to adjust will face the hardest challenges.

Today, women are already lagging behind in the digital revolution. Our report for the G20 on ‘Bridging the Digital Gender Divide’, to be release later today with Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, shows that:

  • In many G20 countries, only 1 out of 4 graduates in STEM subjects are women; 

  • Women are almost 30% less likely than men to have access to mobile internet;

  • Women still have a marginal role in the software industry: 86% of software packages are authored by men-only teams. 

Addressing this challenge will also help us achieve the G20 flagship commitment, to reduce the gender gap in labour market participation by 25% by 2025.

We therefore need a powerful policy response to address the digital challenge!

SKILLS, SKILLS, SKILLS. They are the new currency, the gold-standard of an inclusive digital era.  This goes beyond re-skilling and upskilling to make workers “Artificial intelligence ready”, through lifelong learning systems. This is also about: 

  • having the right skills for critical and flexible thinking, problem solving and teamwork.
  • developing skills strategies that are better targeted at disadvantaged underrepresented groups. 

  • and finally, redesigning the delivery of social protection and training rights, attached to the worker, to each worker, not to the jobs.

There are other challenges related to digitalization: regulation, concentration, competition, taxation, security, privacy, just to mention a few.

Collective action now will allow us to achieve better, faster progress and ensure the digital revolution works for all!  Thank you.



See also:

OECD work with G20

OECD work on Skills


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