How the digital economy is changing employment and labour

Paris, 01/08/17



Ano Kuhanathan, 

Economist (Euro area) - AXA IM R&IS


Michael Kollo, 

Chief Research Strategist, Rosenberg

Tomorrow Augmented: The digital economy’s next stage of evolution

Technology is changing just about every aspect of how we live and work. From healthcare to taxis, to entertainment and financial services - its influence on society is immense. The rise of the digital economy is core to this megatrend.

Over the next several weeks, we will take an in-depth look at this phenomenon and outline how we expect it to grow over the years to come.

Our second piece examines how the digital economy is changing employment and labour.

Key points

  • New technologies have the potential to automate more than 40% of jobs across both developed and emerging economies. However, in our view, the automation process will be gradual for multiple reasons (e.g. the pace of diffusion of technology).
  • New jobs will also be created as these technologies are developed, which will better match human needs and capabilities as we transition more to a routine-free work environment.
  • In some sectors, the productivity growth implied by automaton is likely to generate positive spillovers to other sectors and provide employment growth elsewhere in the economy.
  • The digital economy is already questioning the concept of employment by moving the workforce towards the “gig economy” and automation will redefine the skillset required from human workers. In this context, education will become more critical and intertwined with work.