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EU concepts for transition management in a digitalised world of work – key input for an EU White Paper on the future of work (exploratory opinion requested by the Austrian Presidency)

EESC opinion: EU concepts for transition management in a digitalised world of work – key input for an EU White Paper on the future of work (exploratory opinion requested by the Austrian Presidency)

The digitalised world of work will necessitate proper transition management – not only from the side of enterprises, but also from that of human capital.
On the one hand, enterprises have to identify and assess the new needs and draw up and implement plans for controlling the risks and reducing the costs of the transition; employees, on the other hand, should be provided with appropriate guidance and training, so that they can adapt to the new reality and be able to seize the opportunities offered and thrive.
Another aspect to be taken into consideration in the digitalised world of work is the use of data. Thanks to digital technologies and data, the evolution of trends is better understood and targeted support can be proposed to individuals; yet the use of these digital data should be regulated.
The opinion will build on the work already carried out by the Committee on the future of work.


Key points

The EESC:

  • supports a fair digital transition, underpinned by respect for EU values that advocate full employment, social progress, a high level of protection, and reducing poverty and inequalities;
  • calls for the huge potential offered by new technologies to benefit everyone: workers, citizens and companies. In this transition process, there should be no losers. As a matter of priority, policies need to be geared towards strengthening the individual trajectories, in order to provide all citizens with the right skills;
  • considers upskilling for European workers to be a priority, particularly for those whose low or obsolete skills prevent them from taking up the new jobs or the jobs that will be modified as a result of technologies;
  • additional resources could be found in the productivity gains generated by digitalisation. The EESC recommends that the social dialogue on sharing the added value be organised at sector and company level in order to agree on how they are to be used;
  • turning to artificial intelligence (AI), the EESC points out that the lack of clarity surrounding how algorithms work and how they make the choices that are beyond human control poses massive challenges for the EU and fundamental questions about the society we want to live in. An approach focusing on human control over machines is vital;
  • is in favour of global policy frameworks for AI that would give the EU a competitive advantage, and encourages the development of socially responsible AI that serves the common good;
  • emphasises that the EU should support the new research field of "cognitive ergonomics", aimed at adopting measures facilitating a human-centred use of smart technologies.