Digitalisation and work: what future for our jobs?

11 October 2018

A high-profile conference co-organised by Huawei and CSR Europe, taking place in Brussels today, shines a spotlight on how new technologies reshape the way we work. The participants discuss the impact on productivity and employment, charting the road ahead for Europe’s job markets and society at large.

The conference 'Digitalisation & Work: ICT, Driver of Social Value’ taking place at Solvay Library in Brussels brings together 150 people from business, politics, international organisations and NGOs. They assess how new technologies underpinning the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Robotics, revolutionise the very concept of work, and explore how this change can act as a driver of growth and development.

The event evolves around the presentation of a report, prepared by the London School of Economics on behalf of Huawei, which analyses employment trends and the impact of technologies such as AI at work. The study focuses on the economics of ICT, looking at the technological influence of ICT as a generator of ‘knowledge spillovers’. The study also looks at recent employment trends and at the challenge of automation.

“The exponential growth in the use of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics – along with the introduction of 5G, – is changing the workplace as much as connected society itself. We need to act now to ensure that these technologies act as drivers of progress and are harnessed to deliver benefits to everyone,” said Tony Graziano, Vice-President European Public Affairs and Communication at Huawei.

“We look at the opportunities, such as lifelong education, the creation of greater economic value, jobs and the reduction of inequalities, inspiring participants by showcasing practical, best practice examples of how companies and stakeholders are embracing new ICT solutions to amplify impact”, highlighted Stefan Crets, Executive Director of CSR Europe.

“If we want the transition to a sustainable Europe to be successful, we must join forces to anticipate what is coming and pro-actively manage and shape change. We all should aim for a just transition”, said Luca Jahier, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

“Economic research is predicting a resurgence of productive growth driven by AI in robotics in the next 10 to 15 years. To get ready for this we need to think harder about policies for the re-adjustment of workers and industries. Forces such as automation will create new types of jobs as well as displacing old ones. What policy has not been so good is making sure that these two sides of economic change match up in the transition”, said Mirko Draca, Research Associate at the London School of Economics.
The conference participants also discuss how digitalisation and automation can contribute to fair and competitive labour markets, how we can reconcile flexibility and stability, and how businesses can deliver on social objectives through technological development.

More information on the Digitalisation & Work conference – including a press pack - is available here.  

See video here.