Benchmark for Future Policies: Studying the Effects of Training on the Adaptability to Technological Change Worker-Level Evidence

Oliver Falck, Yuchen Guo, Christina Langer, Valentin Lindlacher, Simon Wiederhold

Pillars Report


This paper investigates the impact of job training on workers’ susceptibility to automation. Using rich individual-level data from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) across 37 industrialized countries, we construct a unique individual-level measure of automation risk based on the tasks performed at work. We uncover substantial variation in automation risk within detailed occupations,which would have been overlooked by previous occupation-level automation measures. Job training is an important factor in explaining workers’ susceptibility to automation within occupations. Our results show that workers who participate in job training witness a 4.7 percentage point reduction in their automation risk compared to observationally equivalent workers without training. Moreover, workers participating in training earn approximately 8 percent higher wages compared to their counterparts without training. While training is effective in reducing automation risk and increasing wages in almost all sample countries, there is a substantial heterogeneity in the magnitude of training effects. Our findings emphasize the need for comprehensive data on training participation and job tasks to better understand the efficacy of training programs in addressing automation risks.