Herausforderungen der Digitalisierung für die Zukunft der ArbeitsweltZEW policy brief No. 16-08 // 2016
Technological change is increasingly turning the value chain into an automated and digitalised process. The digitalisation and automation of manufacturing processes is characterised by the use of increasingly autonomous systems and robots, as well as fully automated smart factories (Industry 4.0), which are interconnected with upstream and downstream business divisions. Similarly, service providers have been increasingly using intelligent software and algorithms which help digitalise and automate business processes on the basis of large data volumes and web interfaces. To this effect, businesses make use of big data analysis software, cloud computing systems or online platforms, to name but a few examples. In view of these technological developments, or so-called technologies of the fourth industrial revolution, many concerns have been voiced in the public debate about how numerous jobs might become redundant in the future. This scenario of a "technological unemployment" is supported by U.S. studies, which suggest that 50 per cent of jobs are at risk of being replaced by new digital technologies (Frey and Osborne, 2013). This raises a number of questions among decision-makers and the general public: Is it true that automation and digitalisation will result in major job losses? And if so, which jobs are at risk? In what way are technological developments changing work processes and contents? How does this affect qualification and competency requirements? Is it necessary to carry out adjustment measures to guarantee job security? This policy brief summarises key findings of studies and scientifically grounded assessments by ZEW researchers.
Arnold, Daniel, Melanie Arntz, Terry Gregory, Susanne Steffes and Ulrich Zierahn-Weilage (2016), Herausforderungen der Digitalisierung für die Zukunft der Arbeitswelt, ZEW policy brief No. 16-08, Mannheim