The myth of high-tech job creation
Jul 24, 1998
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released a report that explodes the myth that high technology industries have created more jobs in the 1990s. The report - Technology, Productivity and Job Creation: Best Policy Practices - argues that the adoption of new technology throughout the economy is the single biggest factor in job creation and long-term economic growth.
The report suggests that governments should move more university researchers onto short-term contracts to encourage mobility between academia and industry. It also recommends that scientists should rely on specific research grants rather than general research funding provided by institutions. Such a system already operates in the UK, US and Australia and has been very successful in transferring technology from academia to industry. An ageing scientific work force and a shortage of students choosing science are other problems, according to the report.
The report also highlights the recent decline in R&D funding, and the switch to more short-term and market-oriented research by industry. Any further fall in R&D investment - caused either by slow economic growth or decreases in government support for basic science - could create "adverse long-term consequences if current trends continues", the report states. To combat declining industrial investment, the OECD recommends tax breaks for firms carrying out R&D and tax incentives for individuals undertaking training.