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The changing nature of work and skills in the digital age

Virtual assistant, youtuber, app-developer.

There are jobs that 20 years ago were not imaginable.

Other jobs have almost disappeared.

"The changing nature of work and skills in the digital age" report offers an evidence based analysis of the impact of technology on labour markets and skills.

The report provides new research and data for the EU on:

  • the interplay between new technologies, jobs, and work organisation
  • the extent and nature of work mediated by digital labour platforms
  • the structural change in labour markets

It describes:

  • new form of works that are emerging,
  • the different evolution of the labour market across regions
  • the skills and competences that will be needed in the future job market.

It adds to the discussion:

  • the challenges and opportunities that the changing nature of work represents for the EU
  • how people and education systems should develop skills for the future.

Key findings:

New technologies will reshape millions of jobs in the EU

  • Millions of jobs are at risk because of automation. Especially, those that involve routine tasks.
  • Technology creates new types of jobs. But it is difficult to predict where and how many.
  • Digital technologies also change what people do on the job, and how they do it.

Digital and non-cognitive skills (communication, planning, teamwork, …) are increasingly necessary to seize emerging job opportunities

  • Jobs requiring a combination of  digital and non-cognitive skills (communication, planning, teamwork…) tend to be better paid than others.
  • Employers seek team-workers who can adapt to change and are open to learning.
  • Most occupations that grew in the EU since 2011 are rich in social interactions and require above-average ICT skills.  

Technology is a key driver of new forms of work

  • Technology provides incentives for employers to outsource work. It enables workers to work remotely and in novel structures.
  • Platform work and other atypical forms of employment are growing in the EU, involving many young people and highly educated workers.
  • Platform work is a clear example of how digital transformation offers new job opportunities. But it creates challenges for workers and policy makers.
  • International competition, outsourcing, and the rise of digital labour platforms can generate fragmented and short-lived jobs. 

The employment landscape is evolving differently across the EU, widening the gap between regions

  • Beyond technological change, many other factors shape the evolution of the employment landscape. For example, economic structures and labour market institutions.
  • Highly urbanised areas show a much larger share of high-paid jobs.
  • The employment structure of peripheral European regions remains far from converging to the core.

Download the report

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.  

Related content

JRC working paper series on Labour, Education and Technology