Rising production costs, fewer migrant workers, less travel, and the need for social distancing, could all boost automation and digitisation in a post-COVID world.
Working from home accelerated the use of technologies that were previously feasible but not widely adopted. However, the possibility of remote working is not uniform across industries and countries.
Whereas most jobs in high-skilled roles can be performed at home, the same cannot be said for jobs in agriculture, hotels and restaurants, and retail. The pandemic could increase the role of service robots in those sectors. This could further widen existing divides: between low, and middle versus high-skilled workers, 'winner-take-all' digital companies and the rest, and also between advanced and emerging markets. Advanced economies with more technology investment and higher skilled workers are likely to benefit most.