Digital age

Game-changing technologies: Transforming production and employment in Europe

Report
Aktualisiert
22 Januar 2020
Veröffentlicht
22 Januar 2020
Formate
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Executive summary

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Key findings

  • Game-changing technologies (GCTs) are those expected to have a disruptive effect on the economy, labour market and society; GCTs should be monitored to identify early interventions to foster growth or to prevent negative effects.
  • There is considerable difference as regards technical and market maturity across GCTs and their adoption across sectors. For example, advanced robotics is a comparatively well established technology in some manufacturing sectors, while at early stage adoption in services. Blockchain, in contrast, is hardly operationally used by business in general, and if applied, then rather in services.
  • The numerical employment impact of GCTs is hard to assess, but most probably is less severe than often discussed. Most analysed GCTs show some potential for both, job creation (notably higher-skilled jobs related to data handling, science and analytics) and job loss (notably jobs characterised by a high level of automatable routine tasks).
  • More importantly, GCTs are expected to have a substantial impact on the task composition within jobs, which is likely to result in disruptive changes as regards skills needs and use and work organisation.
  • To ensure, at the same time, global competitiveness of European companies and sustainable employment and decent working conditions for the workforce, policy interventions are needed, even if the GCTs are not yet widely adopted by business.

Zusammenfassung

Innovation and technological advancement are natural features of developed economies, and they are necessary to maintain and improve sustainable competitiveness in an era of globalisation. However, while most innovation tends to be incremental, some has a disruptive effect on production and service provision, the labour market and social dialogue. This report discusses a selection of eight so-called ‘game-changing technologies’ (advanced robotics, additive manufacturing, the Internet of Things, electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, industrial biotechnologies, blockchain and virtual and augmented reality). Each of these has the potential to substantially change business activities, work and employment in Europe. Looking at both the manufacturing and services sectors, this report gives an indication of how these technologies might be adopted and how they are expected to affect the labour market.

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