In the #ZEWPodcast “Wirtschaft · Forschung · Debatten”/“Economy · Research · Debates”, labour market economist Melanie Arntz explains that while most jobs will undergo changes in the future, there is little risk that they will be entirely replaced by machines. Firstly, companies are only gradually implementing technological changes: “Experience shows that adapting to digital business models requires large investments from firms.” In addition, most machines carry out tasks that complement human labour. Since they increase company productivity, the purchase of machines can even increase the demand for specific job profiles. Moreover, productivity growth may also increase corporate revenues and wages, which raises consumption and hence demand for workers.
In this new work environment, much value will be given to the combination of analytical and communication skills. Interdisciplinary thinking and creativity will be needed more than ever, explains Arntz. “It is the human factor that counts.” At the same time, however, there is also the risk of low-skilled and older workers being left behind. This is why opportunities for further training and live-long learning should be made available for these groups of workers, suggests the deputy head of the ZEW Research Department “Labour Markers and Human Resources.”