EESC study: the digital revolution affects work organisation and skills needs and requires companies to adapt

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The labour market of the future will look for workers with digital and entrepreneurial skills and will also seek creativity. As a result of digitalisation, work organisation is characterised by increased flexibility, affecting when, where and how tasks are performed.  These are just some of the key conclusions of the recently published study entitled "Impact of digitalisation and the on-demand economy on labour markets and the consequences for employment and industrial relations".

The study explores the impact of digitalisation on employment, enterprises and labour relations in terms of the creation, transformation and destruction of jobs, employees' and employers' altered roles, and changes in the organisation of work. The study covers both traditional businesses and industries and the on-demand economy.

Unlike many other studies previously conducted in this field, which have mostly examined the perspective of employees or workers who offer their labour on online platforms, this study places particular emphasis on aspects relevant to employers, sectors and businesses of all sizes.

According to the researchers, key factors for successfully adapting enterprises to the changes brought about by digitalisation are the ability to collect and exploit data, the interconnection of value chains, the creation of digital customer interfaces, and the mitigation of cyber threats.

New techniques such as big data analytics, additive printing, automation, virtual reality and the internet of things allow for the development of new, more complex and sophisticated products and services. New jobs in developing and maintaining these products and services often require higher skills, while the application of these technologies can also create more service-oriented, low-skilled jobs. According to the study, every job that is created in the high-tech industry has been estimated to create an additional five jobs in the wider economy.

The study was drawn up for the European Economic and Social Committee – upon request by the Employers' Group – by a research team from the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). The analysis in the study is based on desk research and interviews with stakeholders ranging from employers' and employees' representatives to platforms, sectoral organisations, policy-makers and other experts.

The study was published on the EESC website and is available for download via the following link.