Welcome back to The Workweek, the Indeed Hiring Lab’s round-up of the latest research, news, and perspectives that made us think deeply or differently about the labor market this week. It’s your guide to the most important new insights about work.
These are our picks for this week:
Hidden Bias and the Gender Pay Gap
The gender pay gap may have grown smaller over the last five decades, but it still persists. While this can partially be explained by the different choices men and women make during their lives, the authors of a recent study suggest that another, hidden factor may also be involved — “statistical discrimination” where employers assume that female employees are more likely to drop out of the workforce or reduce their hours and so make hiring and employee development choices on the basis of this hidden bias. (St. Louis FED)
Rules for Living With Robots
Regardless of whether you think that job automation is a force for good or ill, there can be no doubt that the future will require substantial adjustments in how work is conceived and organized. Claire Cain Miller surveys the most hotly debated potential policy changes, ranging from shifts in education and tax policy, to public employment and welfare reform, to changes in how work is done. Workers’ preferences and politics will have the final say in which changes prevail. (The Upshot)
Are ‘Superstar Firms’ Gobbling Up Too Much Pie?
After remaining stable for most of the 20th century, the share of national income that goes to workers has shrunk dramatically since 2000. A new study argues that this is caused by the rise of giant firms that are not only very successful at capturing large shares of the market but which do so very efficiently and with smaller workforces, mainly thanks to advances in technology. As a result, they generate bigger profits that are split between fewer workers. (NYT)
Why All Regions Must Innovate
Technology and foreign competition have caused the US industrial mix to shift away from traditional industries (like manufacturing) towards more productive ones. These new industries offer high-paying innovation jobs that in turn create demand for local services — and so have a very positive impact on the regions where they are concentrated. Noah Smith makes the case for the inevitability of industrial decline in the US and argues that there’s only one possible way forward: Make the innovation economy work for more people all over the country. (BloombergView)
Measuring the “True” State of the Labor Market
Controversies persist over whether the unemployment rate is a valid indicator of the “true” state of the labor market. By understanding how joblessness is measured using a range of complementary indicators, we can better grasp their strengths and their flaws. Yet despite all the hubbub, one fact remains true: The unemployment rate is a useful number for characterizing the state of the labor market, even if – as with any aggregated statistical measure – it is always best used in association with other other labor market statistics. (CBSnews)