Mapping ‘career causeways’ for workers in the age of automation

www.nesta.org.uk/blog/mapping-career-causeways/
Skip to content

Mapping ‘career causeways’ for workers in the age of automation

The word ‘causeway’ describes a raised pathway that allows a person to cross across marshy ground or water and reach dry land. As the rising tide of automation changes the world of work, the term seems apt at describing the paths that will allow people to find their way to fulfilling, secure jobs.

With the support of J.P. Morgan, Nesta is excited to embark on a new piece of research that will map ‘career causeways’ for people whose jobs are likely to change or be lost as a result of automation. Building on our Open Jobs programme of work, this ambitious project will apply state-of-the-art data science methods to measure the susceptibility of jobs to automation. Focusing on the UK, France, Germany, and Italy, we will shed new light on the demographic characteristics and locations of workers likely to experience changes to their jobs.

Importantly, where occupations are at risk, this work will identify lower risk occupations which have similar skill requirements and offer a comparable standard of living, and are therefore viable alternative roles. We hope that this information can be used to provide guidance to workers who are likely to be displaced from their jobs.

For some workers, changing to lower risk occupations might be harder because their skills are more specialised or less transferable. We expect the research will identify groups of workers whose career transitions are limited due to ‘skill isolation’, and who might therefore need different types of support.

What’s new about this research?

This research will fill gaps in the existing research on occupations that are at risk of automation. The available literature is predominantly focused on US occupations and the estimates that are available for EU countries tend to be for broad occupation groups. For example, a recent study for OECD countries only gives estimates for 43 occupation groups. In this research we will use the ESCO framework (a multilingual classification of European Skills, Competencies, Qualifications and Occupations) to evaluate the susceptibility to automation for 2,942 occupations.

More importantly, the current research does not provide comprehensive pathways for transitions out of at-risk occupations. Instead, the transition routes are either based on a small set of skills, or they are based on proprietary skill frameworks. To address this gap, we will map transition opportunities between all occupations in ESCO, which also contains the largest publicly available set of skill requirements.

What will the impact be?

The research is intended to provide insights that policymakers and practitioners can use to develop solutions which support workers whose jobs are at risk, and increase their resilience to change. To achieve this, we’ll be working with key stakeholders (for example, learning providers, public employment services, unions and policymakers) to guide our research and interpret the results.

Alongside a report detailing key transition pathways for workers, the outputs will include a job recommendation algorithm which suggests alternative occupations for workers in at-risk occupations, and a series of short, engaging documents which translate our findings into practical guidance and recommendations.

This work furthers Nesta’s mission, detailed in Precarious to Prepared, to empower workers to navigate their way to the jobs of the future by making information and guidance available to more people.

Work with us

If you are a policymaker or practitioner based in the UK, France, Germany, or Italy, and would like to learn more or contribute your expertise to this project, please email [email protected]

Author

Madeleine Gabriel

Madeleine Gabriel

Madeleine Gabriel

Head of Inclusive Innovation

Madeleine Gabriel leads international projects that explore how new models of innovation can tackle big social challenges. Her current work includes a study on whether and how the conc…

View profile
Jyldyz Djumalieva

Jyldyz Djumalieva

Jyldyz Djumalieva

Head, Open Jobs Data team, Creative Economy & Data Analytics

Jyldyz Djumalieva is the Head of Open Jobs Data, working in the Creative Economy & Data Analytics team.

View profile
Cath Sleeman

Cath Sleeman

Cath Sleeman

Head of Data Visualisation, Creative Economy & Data Analytics

Dr Cath Sleeman is the Head of Data Visualisation.

View profile
Jack Orlik

Jack Orlik

Jack Orlik

Programme Manager, Open Jobs

Jack is the Programme Manager for Open Jobs.

View profile