Major disruption in jobs will accelerate growing inequality

The government has a clear role to play to support people through the job losses and disruption of what the World Economic Forum is describing as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Green Party said today.

The World Economic Forum has predicted that a perfect storm of technological, demographic, and other socio-economic forces will lead to a net loss of over five million jobs over the next four years across 15 major economies. The Future of Work Report 2016 predicts that people working in lower skilled roles, particularly in office administrative and manufacturing jobs will face the most disruption and that the costs of not anticipating and addressing these issues will be enormous for businesses, individuals, economies, and societies as a whole.

“Disruption in our job market is set to grow. Our Government needs to start adopting new policies that will support the people affected by these major changes while preparing them for the new opportunities,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“New Zealand is not immune from global trends.

“Changes in technology and the advent of global supply chains will result in significant job losses here, requiring people to retrain to support themselves and their families.

“Growing churn in the job market will put downward pressure on wages. This means that even more of the gains from increasing productivity will be captured by the owners of capital, increasing inequality.

“National’s short-termism doesn’t acknowledge the growing risks that automation and outsourcing pose to people’s livelihoods. The Government’s approach has been to chip away at the unemployment safety net and avoid fixing the unfair tax burden labour must carry relative to those who own capital.

“We need strong safety nets so people can escape the worst effects of losing their jobs and give them the confidence to retrain or start new businesses themselves.

“We also need to seriously reconsider our current tax settings which heavily tax labour while letting the owners of capital get away largely tax free.

“The Green Party supports a comprehensive tax on capital gains, the revenues from which could be used to help lower income taxes or be re-invested in further education and job training,” said Mr Shaw.

Link to WEF Future of Jobs Report 2016:

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