Game-changing technologies: Transforming production and employment in Europe
- 22 January 2020
- 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.
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.
Full reportNumber of Pages:54Reference No:EF19047ISBN:978-92-897-2044-1Catalogue:TJ-03-20-015-EN-CDOI:10.2806/198Topics:Platform work; Small and medium-sized enterprises; Structural change; Industrial policy; Digital age; Labour market changeCite this publication as:Eurofound (2020), Game-changing technologies: Transforming production and employment in Europe, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.
Executive summaryCatalogue info
Game-changing technologies: Transforming production and employment in EuropeAuthors:Eurofound
Eurofound studied the implications of eight game-changing technologies (GCTs) for work, employment and employment relations. These technologies have the potential to cause significant disruption to European manufacturing and services sectors by 2030. Based on technology-specific studies, this report summarises the main characteristics of these technologies, the drivers of and barriers to their adoption and their (potential) application in business. It goes on to provide an overview of the impact these technologies may have on work and employment in Europe.
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Related working papers
The working papers accompanying this report deal with the implications for the services sector.
Data and infographics
- Figure 1: Narrow AI: fields of application
- Figure 2: Vectors of digital change and analysed GCTs
- Figure 3: GCTs in manufacturing: potential employment implications
- Figure 4: GCTs in services: potential employment implications
- Figure 5: Overview of potential impact of the analysed GCTs on selected working conditions
- Table 1: GCTs selected for analysis
- Table 2: Definitions of the analysed GCTs
- Table 3: Example applications of GCTs
- Table 4: Estimated potential market size of analysed GCTs
- Table 5: Overview of key factors influencing adoption of the analysed GCTs
- Table 6: Potential job creation and job loss by sector and GCT
- Table 7: Expected effects of analysed GCTs on skills use and skills development
- Table 8: Expected effects of analysed GCTs on work organisation
- Table 9: Expected effects of analysed GCTs on working time and work intensity
- Table 10: Expected effects of the analysed GCTs on autonomy, flexibility and control
- Table 11: Expected effects of analysed GCTs on workers’ health and safety
The infographics accompanying this report deal with the implications for the services sector.