Digitialisation and the use of robots will involve the loss of fewer Dutch jobs than predicted, according to a new report by the government’s scientific policy advisory council WRR.
Some experts say up to half the jobs currently being done will disappear because of the rise of robots, and consultancy Deloitte said in a report earlier this year two to three million Dutch jobs are under threat.
However, the WRR says that while the nature of work will change, such major job losses are unlikely. Automation is proceeding more slowly than predicted and in different ways than forecast, the report states.
Yet although robotics will bring many positive advantages, the report also highlights the risk of growing inequality as certain sectors will be more severely affected than others.
This means the government must rethink its policies to deal with the rise of robotics, including its strategies on income, education and social security.
For example, a new way of allowing workers to become shareholders in their companies would allow the profits earned by automation to be better spread.
Another option could be the introduction of a ‘robot dividend’ which companies would pay into a social fund that benefits everyone, the NRC quotes the report as saying.
Retraining workers to adapt to the changing face of work is not the answer and some older workers will lose their jobs because of automation, the report says. For this reason, the government should look seriously at the introduction of early retirement or shorter working weeks for specific groups.
The report is being presented to social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher later on Tuesday.
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