Global workforce competition is on
the rise. The jobs that are coming back aren’t the same ones that went
away during the Great Recession. Service jobs, part-time jobs, dead-end
jobs are a significant portion of the recovery that we’ve seen. Some
say higher wages aren't coming back.
Policymakers may find it tempting to
try and mandate good jobs through extensive regulation, but the
workplace is a complex and constantly changing environment, and the risk
of unintended consequences is high. Raising the minimum wage only
hastens the turn to automation, as more-costly employees can be replaced
by cheaper alternatives that never make wage demands or go on strike.
It’s not surprising that low-margin
businesses facing higher mandated labor costs often opt for cost-saving
(and labor-reducing) changes to stay in the black. Higher wages also
systematically eliminates the ability for unskilled or low-skilled
people to compete for jobs, thereby creating near-permanent unemployment
for those individuals.
European fast food workers are
beginning to look more like R2D2 than entry-level employees. Some
experts think that robots and computers will replace one third of all
workers by 2025.