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Impact of digitalisation and AI on skills

The spread of digitalisation in labour markets is offering marked opportunities for transformation in jobs and business models, including increasing reliance on remote working and learning to safeguard against public health and social distancing risks. Digitalisation also improves our ability to understand labour market developments and improve skills matching with the assistance of big data analysis. However, increasing use of algorithmic control in workplaces may deter incentives for individual’s continued skill development.

Cedefop’s project focuses on the collection of new data on the impact of technological change and digitalisation on EU jobs and skill needs. The 2nd wave of the European skills and jobs survey, to be carried out in in the first half of 2021, is collecting detailed information on EU workers’ use of digital technologies and the impact of technological change on skills and learning needs.

Using both survey-based and big datasets, the project analyses the demand for digital skills, including AI skills, and the risk of a digital skills divide in the EU labour market. Cedefop evidence highlights that about seven in ten EU workers require at least moderate digital skills to do their job while about 1 in 3 EU workers are at risk of digital skills gaps.

An additional contribution of the project is that it contributes to strengthening capacity among EU countries and stakeholders in implementing technological skill foresight methods as well as new methods of skills anticipation based on big data methods. A new ‘Guide for identifying new technologies and skill needs’ will be published early 2021.

Key outputs:

Cedefop’s 2018 reference report ‘Insights into skill shortages and skill mismatch’ focuses on the impact of digitalisation and industry 4.0 technologies on EU workers. It presents evidence on the extent and impact of technological skills obsolescence in EU job markets, which poses strain on EU VET systems’ adaptability.

Cedefop’s note ‘Artificial or human intelligence?’ shows that 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.

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