The routine content of occupations: new cross-country measures based on PIAAC

his work proposes a novel measure of the routine content of occupations, built on data from the OECD PIAAC survey of adult skills mirroring the extent to which workers can modify the type and sequence of tasks performed on the job.

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Based on median values of individuals’ responses in 3-digit occupations across 20 OECD countries, occupations are grouped into quartiles of routine intensity, namely high (HR), medium (MR), low (LR), and non-routine intensive (NR). On average, in 2012, 46% of employed persons worked in NR or LR occupations, with significant differences in the distribution between quartiles across countries. While more routine intensive occupations tend to be associated with lower skills, this relationship is not very strong. Applying the RII on employment data from Labour Force Surveys, MR and HR occupations are found to be less resilient to business cycles, with notable differences across quartiles between Europe and the United States.