EU Science Hub

The changing nature of work and skills in the digital age

Abstract: 

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-Eurofound 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.