How Computerization Changes the UK Labour Market: The Facts Viewed from a New Perspective
The digitization of the world as a result of the introduction of computers, chips, and ICT, has undoubtedly been the most important technological development of the past few decades. The fact that more and more workers use computers has led to the conclusion that computer skills are becoming a key to social success. The aim of this paper is to contribute to the discussion of the effects of computerization on work. Our main conclusions are that the fear of a digital split in society appears unjustified. Although computers initially find their way primarily to the higher educated, practically all workers eventually end up working with computers. Absence of computer skills probably plays no role during this process of computerization. This does not mean, however, that there is no need for policies to optimise the economic potential of computers and ICT in general. Firstly, a properly developed infrastructure may be of importance for a rapid diffusion of the possibilities offered by ICT. This applies not only to the physical networks, but also to the availability of software and information. In addition, it may be expected that the educational requirements for workers will increase across the board and there will be changes in the knowledge and skills that people need to have. These are not primarily computer skills, but concern a much wider shift in the importance of various skills. Adjusting adequately to these changes, requires reliable data. What is being measured and how the measurements are taken, will need to change considerably.
Keywords: Wage Differentials by Skill; Computer Use and Skill