The changing nature of work and skills in the digital age

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The changing nature of work and skills in the digital age

“The changing nature of work and skills in the digital age” synthesises the main policy-relevant findings stemming from on-going JRC research projects on the future of work. Underlying evidence can be found under related content or forthcoming publications.  

Arregui Pabollet, E., Bacigalupo, M., Biagi, F., Cabrera Giraldez, M., Caena, F., Castaño Muñoz, J., Centeno Mediavilla, I., Edwards, J., Fernandez Macias, E., Gomez Gutierrez, E., Gomez Herrera, M., Inamorato Dos Santos, A., Kampylis, P., Klenert, D., Lopez Cobo, M., Marschinski, R., Pesole, A., Punie, Y., Tolan, S., Torrejon Perez, S., Urzi Brancati, M. and Vuorikari, R., The changing nature of work and skills in the digital age, Gonzalez Vazquez, I., Milasi, S., Carretero Gomez, S., Napierala, J., Robledo Bottcher, N., Jonkers, K. and Goenaga Beldarrain, X. editor(s), EUR 29823 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2019, ISBN 978-92-76-09207-0, doi:10.2760/373892, JRC117505.


This report aims to shed light on some of the key drivers which are worth taking into account when assessing the effect of new technologies on the future of work and skills. It combines a synthesis of the most recent and robust scientific evidence available with original JRC research on issues which have been often overlooked by existing studies. In particular, the report provides new insights on the interplay between automation and work organisation, the extent and nature of platform work, and the patterns of occupational changes across EU regions. The first chapter discusses the impact of technology on employment. It overviews the most recent estimates on technology-induced job creation and destruction, and provides new insights on the role of workplace organisation in shaping the effect of new technologies on labour markets. The second chapter discusses how skills needs are shifting towards digital and non-cognitive skills, showing evidence of an increasing shortage of these skills in the EU, which education systems are not fully tackling yet. The third chapter reviews the opportunities and challenges related to the recent upwards trend in new forms of employment in the EU, focusing on the results of the second wave of the COLLEEM survey on platform work in the EU. The final chapter presents results from a new JRC-Euro found study on the patterns of occupational change in EU regions in the last 15 years which shows that low-wage jobs have increasingly concentrated in peripheral regions while higher-wage jobs are becoming more and more concentrated in capital regions, leading to increasing territorial disparities, both across and within EU Member States.

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