Sweeping technological change has raised uncertainty among workers across Europe. Some forecasts predict that nearly half of all jobs in advanced economies may potentially be automated, and 72% of EU citizens fear that robots may ‘steal people’s jobs’. Cedefop’s European skills and jobs survey has added detail to the theories: 43% of adult workers across the EU reported that the technologies they use in the workplace have changed in the past five years, while 47% saw changes in their working methods or practices.
Cedefop examines the opportunities and risks of digitalisation for the future of jobs and skills, especially the impact of robots. While past technological breakthroughs tended to replace low-skilled, routine work, today many high-skilled tasks, including in the health, legal, finance and education industries, can be performed faster and better by machines than humans.
Cedefop research shows that automation and artificial intelligence do not necessarily destroy, but rather transform jobs. People, businesses and labour markets will have to adapt and acquire new skills, enabling them to cooperate with machines. Education and training provision will have to offer ‘robot-compatible’ skills and competences, blending specific occupational skills with key competences such as entrepreneurship and learning to learn. Political decision-makers must determine how to frame this continuing transformation, ensuring that nobody is left behind as new work methods are introduced.
More information can be found in Cedefop’s briefing note (in nine languages).