fbpx Human Capital and the Future of Work: Implications for Investors and ESG integration | Harvard Kennedy School

Additional Authors:

  • George Serafeim


Human Capital and the Future of Work: Implications for Investors and ESG integration. George Serafeim, 2019, Paper, "Human capital development (HCD) is a key consideration for most companies, but only recently investors have focused on understanding the risks and opportunities related to human capital with the emergence of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment frameworks and impact investing. We argue that the importance of human capital is likely to be magnified in an environment of rapid technological change where the future of work is uncertain and that existing frameworks to measure and evaluate human capital development might not be fit for purpose. Against this backdrop, we derive a human capital development metric that focuses on outcomes rather than inputs; show that even in the current disclosure landscape one could measure with reasonable accuracy this human capital development metric for thousands of companies; and provide exploratory evidence on its relationship with employee productivity. Moreover, we develop an estimate of probability of automation of job tasks for each sub-industry and show the relation of this probability to elements of our HCD metric and other human capital characteristics. Finally, we outline an investor engagement framework to improve the disclosure landscape related to HCD and to empower effective investment stewardship." Link