Digital age

Game-changing technologies: Transforming production and employment in Europe

Report
Published
22 January 2020
Formats
Executive summary in 22 languages

PDF

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.

Abstract

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 report

    Number of Pages: 
    54
    Reference No: 
    EF19047
    ISBN: 
    978-92-897-2044-1
    Catalogue: 
    TJ-03-20-015-EN-C
    DOI: 
    10.2806/198
    Catalogue info

    Game-changing technologies: Transforming production and employment in Europe

    Available formats

    Cite this publication as: 
    Eurofound (2020), Game-changing technologies: Transforming production and employment in Europe, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.
  • Executive summary

    Catalogue info

    Game-changing technologies: Transforming production and employment in Europe

    Authors: 
    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.

    Available in 22 languages for download

    PDF
  • Working papers

    Related working papers

    The working papers accompanying this report deal with the implications for the services sector.

    • Advanced robotics: Implications of game-changing technologies in the services sector in Europe
      20 June 2019
      Authors
      Stewart, Katherine; Deshpande, Advait; Hoorens, Stijn; Gunashekar, Salil
      Number of pages
      77
      Reference No
      WPEF19001
      Topics
      Digital age
    • Autonomous transport devices: Implications of game-changing technologies in the services sector in Europe
      20 June 2019
      Authors
      Ioppolo, Rebecca; Stewart, Katherine; Deshpande, Advait; Hoorens, Stijn; Gunashekar, Salil
      Number of pages
      62
      Reference No
      WPEF19002
      Topics
      Digital age
    • Blockchain: Implications of gamechanging technologies in the services sector in Europe
      20 June 2019
      Authors
      Stewart, Katherine; Deshpande, Advait; Hoorens, Stijn; Gunashekar, Salil
      Number of pages
      78
      Reference No
      WPEF19003
      Topics
      Digital age
    • Virtual and augmented reality: Implications of game-changing technologies in the services sector in Europe
      20 June 2019
      Authors
      Knack, Anna; Deshpande, Advait; Hoorens, Stijn; Gunashekar, Salil
      Number of pages
      66
      Reference No
      WPEF19004
      Topics
      Digital age
    • Wearable devices: Implications of game-changing technologies in services in Europe
      20 June 2019
      Authors
      Knack, Anna; Deshpande, Advait; Hoorens, Stijn; Gunashekar, Salil
      Number of pages
      57
      Reference No
      WPEF19005
      Topics
      Digital age
  • Data and infographics

    Figures

    • 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

    Tables

    • 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

    Infographics

    The infographics accompanying this report deal with the implications for the services sector.

    Eurofound infographic on advanced robotics

    Eurofound infographic on autonomous transport devices

    Eurofound infographic on blockchain

    Eurofound infographic on virtual and augmented reality

    Eurofound infographic on wearable devices

     

     

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