2013 Cornell ILR Employment and Technology Roundtable

On April 12, 2013, Cornell's ILR School convened 40 scholars, business leaders, policy makers, media experts, and representatives from grant-making foundations in an invitation-only discussion of employers use of new technologies and the impact on quality job-creation in the United States.

This event launched a dialogue through which the ILR School looks to advance informed and open-minded, cross-sector conversation about the forces driving the high adoption rates of productivity-enhancing technologies throughout the U.S. economy, and the impacts on employment and the future of work.

Key points raised and addressed:

  • Technological advancement and globalization are significantly impacting U.S. jobs and raising the risk that more and more U.S. workers will be caught "in the middle" as jobs migrate to higher-skill and lower-skill work.
  • Collection of U.S. economic data for measuring work and the labor market is not keeping pace with the rapidly changing world of work.
  • As globalization and technology make it more efficient for companies to engage fewer U.S. workers, and more of them in countries such as India and China, these forces are also changing the U.S. innovation advantage.
  • Current conceptualization of Corporate Social Responsibility isn't enough.

Overall, there was widespread agreement that a much broader and more vigorous national discussion is needed regarding the short- and longer-term impacts of technological advances on the nature of work, the creation and elimination of jobs, and the ability of U.S. workers to earn a sustainable living.