Work and employment in the digital age

Short thesis

The capacity of humankind to store, transmit and manipulate information has been massively expanded in recent years as a result of a number of crucial innovations in computing and telecommunications technologies. Because of their general applicability, such technologies are having very significant effects in most areas of the economy, leading to a general acceleration in the pace of technical change. Work, its content, its organisation and design, and its regulation and protection are all undergoing change. These changes come with new realities and often bring a blurring of boundaries between different dimensions of work and between work, employment and non-work activity. Policymakers want to seize the opportunities for dynamic economic development and ensure that individual preferences can be followed. At the same time, they need to gain knowledge that will help to address the questions about effective regulation and how to ensure social protection in its broadest sense. Eurofound is the Agency of the European Union tasked with monitoring living and working conditions in Europe. This session will be an opportunity to learn more about the broader implications for working conditions, labour regulation and beyond of the increasing scale and scope of digital technologies for the labour market. The employment impact of the automation of services will be explored.The nature of employment in the digital economy will be discussed, with a focus on the opportunities but also the policy challenges associated with more specific forms of employment that are new or expanding as a result of technological change. The overall aim of our research is to provide a forward-looking analysis of trends. Eurofound wants to support the policy debate through the development of plausible scenarios, taking into account different growth models, outlining what the future world of work could look like.


In this session Eurofound will present the results of its research on digitalisation. The presentations will include a short introduction of Eurofound and its research activities, how we define and categorise digitalisation processes (i.e automation, virtualisation, digitisation, platforms, etc). This will be followed by presentations describing the impact of digitalisation for the division of labour, job quality, social policy and industrial relations. After each presentations there will be time to discuss with the audience the results of our research.