As per the researchers, unemployment and low wages remain persistent social challenges in the face of increasing automation, particularly for traditionally disadvantaged groups in the labor market such as women, minorities and the elderly. In the case, IT skills (technical skills essential to work within technical support, maintenance, and development) could be beneficial in an increasingly digital economy.
Co-authors of the article include Pavlou, Hilal Atasoy of Rutgers University and Rajiv Banker of Temple University. Pavlou said, the results underscore the need for strong public policies to ensure that people, especially women, and older workers who face higher discrimination in the workplace than others, to have the basic IT skills in modern day. As few companies train these skills in the workplace. Only few people can acquire these skills from their employer and hence, they are expected to acquire these skills on their own. For the less privileged populations, it is more difficult to acquire such skills that require computer equipment and good internet connectivity. As a result, many workers, especially from backward populations in the labor market, fail to even apply for jobs as more and more applications and interviews are being processed online nowadays.
The analysis was worked out by using two sets of data from the Turkish Statistical Institute, where Pavlou said the results are more inclined towards developing countries, where people are less likely to have IT skills and access to computer equipment than developed countries such as U.S. Additionally, the dataset included women and older workers who are more likely to choose to leave the workforce when they cannot work from home.
The pandemic has also exposed unequal access to technology as schools and universities struggle to provide students with computers, internet access points, and other devices to smoothly provide online classes and education. These are jobs that are more likely to require at least basic technical skills.