Perspectives of enterprises and students on the future work
ASEAN in Transformation
The world is experiencing an unprecedented acceleration in technological advancement and implementation. Indeed, profound shifts are taking place – entire sectors are accommodating these innovations, rendering several human-performed occupations redundant. In the near future, these positions may be eliminated entirely. At the same time, other jobs are experiencing a rapid increase in demand, and some occupations are revising the skillsets they traditionally require.
Discussions surrounding this topic are often polarized, with one side expressing excitement for the opportunity to improve product quality and living standards and opponents voicing grave concern regarding the massive dislocation of jobs. However, a proper grasp of this topic requires a sector-specific understanding, as not all sectors are impacted equally by these advances in technology.
The ILO Bureau for Employers’ Activities (ACT/EMP) began to extensively research this subject in 2015. Drawing from numerous interviews and case studies, the team examined current technological trends in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and how they impact enterprises and workers within five major labour intensive and/or growth manufacturing and services sectors: automotive and auto parts; electrical and electronics parts; textiles, clothing and footwear; business process outsourcing; and retail. Alongside these in-depth sectoral studies which consisted of over 300 primary interviews, the ILO gathered over 4,000 survey responses from ASEAN enterprises in the manufacturing and service industries. Additionally, survey responses from over 2,700 university and technical vocational education and training students were also collected, providing insight on the career aspirations and expectations of the next generation of workers.