Technology and work – the 21st century and its challenges
The internet is a driving force of transformation in society. In sectors using information and communications technology (ICT) as platform for innovation, the meaning of the term “work” is undergoing fundamental change. These changes are particularly lasting as regards working conditions and qualification requirements in highly innovative business areas.
The demographic trend is leading to lower supply of qualified young people and a sustained rise in the average age of the workforce. With a given increase in the capital stock and a falling participation rate, dynamic macroeconomic growth is only possible if productivity rises considerably. Information and communications technology is a major key, which creates challenges for employees, companies and economic policy.
New technologies are helping to accommodate employees’ individual preferences regarding working hours and location. The concept of teleworking offers advantages for both employees and companies. Whether an employee will be offered telework will depend on the nature of the job and the person’s individual work morale.
It is expected of the modern employee that he/she easily cope with the ever more quickly changing demands of the job. Thus, his/her level of qualification is becoming an increasingly relevant factor. It gives food for serious thought that – despite the demand for university graduates – the ratio between university entrants to school leavers who are qualified to attend university from the same class is on the decline. Germany is noticeably losing ground when it comes to human capital.
There is a huge shortage of highly qualified workers. Besides immigration, improved integration of domestic human capital into the labour market is an important factor to counter the lack of qualified staff.
Modern knowledge-management concepts may contribute to a more efficient use of existing knowledge in a company. Even though companies generally support the concept of knowledge management, only very few concrete projects are actually realised.
Germany is insufficiently prepared for the high demands of the future. Instead of unbending regulation, the German labour market needs more freedom to come up with flexible solutions. As regards Germany’s future competitive position, all groups of society are called upon to implement joint concepts for a flexible labour market.
For in-depth analysis on this topic, see the full analysis by Deutsche Bank