Jobs at the digital age: creative destruction or destructive creation?


Project manager, Confrontations Europe

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This seminar took place with the following guestspeakers:
Dominique BAILLY, Chair of the CSR committee, PostEurope and Director of HR Performance and Strategic Planning, La Poste (FR)
Anne MEISTER, Senior Adviser, Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA)
Laurent ZIBELL, Policy Adviser, IndustriAll European Trade Union

In a famous article in Wired, Kevin Kelly claimed that “before the end of this century, 70 percent of today’s occupations will likewise be replaced by automation. In other words, robot replacement is just a matter of time. This automation is centered on artificial cognition, cheap sensors, machine learning, and distributed smarts”. A Roland Berger’s study estimates that 3 million of jobs will disappear by 2025. Commissioner Oettinger and Vice-President Ansip make no secret that digitization will destroy jobs. However, the digital transformation and new technologies will bring opportunities and create new types of jobs: systems developers, transportation network engineers, medical device consultants, data analysts, electrical engineers for smart grids, customer relations managers and many more that we don’t know yet. McKinsey Global Institute showed that over a 15-year period in France, the internet destroyed 500,000 jobs but created 1.2 million new ones at the same time. The digitalization will touch all jobs, from manual labour to knowledge work. It makes no exception and can be really harmful to businesses that do not adapt to new technologies as shows the example of Kodak which shut down its activities in 2012, leaving 18800 people unemployed. Companies must adapt to new technologies but this will impose a significant reorganization on their businesses from their business model to the HR management. This workshop would be the occasion to discuss the following questions. Where do we stand today in terms of jobs creation/destruction related to the digital revolution? How do companies tackle their digitalization in terms of HR? What strategies do they implement to keep pace with the digital changes and transform their jobs? How do they transform their internal functioning? How do employers and workers’ trade-unions tackle these challenges? How to handle the definition of jobs, the structural organization and the social dialogue being challenged by digital disruption? How can the EU and public bodies accompany this disruption? How can the EU help businesses to adapt to new technologies?

You will find the report of this seminar in the PDF document above.

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