The impact of technological innovations on the world of work and measures to secure jobs in the work-oriented society of the 21st century

A working group on the "The impact of technological innovations on the world of work and measures to secure jobs in the work-oriented society of the 21st century" was held from October 20-22, 2017 in Madrid, organized by “CEAT” (Spanish Centre for Workers’ Questions), with the support of EZA and the European Union. The working group was part of the coordination of projects on "The digital world of work - technological advances and changes in the workplace".

The main objective of the working group was to analyze the positive and negative effects of digitization processes in newly-created jobs.


SPEAKER: Dr. MARTA ENCINAS In her speech, Dr. Encinas stressed that the polarization of the occupational structure in highly qualified and low-skilled jobs and between atypical and permanent forms of employment and various forms of atypical employment can lead to a greater polarization of the salary structure in highly and poorly paid jobs. In some countries, the reduction in the demand for workers with mid-level qualifications has reinforced competition for lower-paid jobs, which has kept wages low in the lower half of the income distribution. At the same time, salaries in the upper part of the distribution have increased due to the high demand for workers with high-level skills. These developments could increase the risk of experiencing poverty in work and the persistence of low income from work.

The shift towards capital-intensive modes of production could also drive further declines in the share of GDP in employment and further increases in inequality. Changes in the occupational structure can create regional inequalities, as new jobs are created in cities with a high concentration of highly qualified workers, which are generally very different cities from those that experience displacement or losses in jobs.

Regarding the meetings and agendas of the speakers, the order of the presentations from Ismael Sanz Labrador and Teresa Coelho was changed. The presentations were as follows:

Dr. TERESA COELHO Director of Institutional Relations at AMAZON España. Dr. Coelho explained the guidelines and management of Amazon within the globalized system. Referring to how workers were chosen at Amazon, she explained that the recruitment procedure was carried out in accordance with the selection criteria established by the company, which are applied in a flexible way. It was a very interesting presentation and with a contemporary vision based on the innovations of the new technologies implemented in the company.

Dr. ISMAEL SANZ LABRADOR Director General of Innovation and Evaluation in the Municipality of Madrid. He spoke about the academic situation of young Spaniards aged 16-26 and the relationship between training and employment faced with the prospect of the widespread use of digitization in emerging jobs. Without training in new technologies, young people struggle to access quality employment. He analyzed education and practical training in companies to make an effective transition between training and the world of work.


There were two Working Groups; one held in the last session on Friday afternoon and one took place in the first session on Saturday morning.

JOSELUIS FERNANDEZ SANTILLANA Unión Sindical Obrera (USO) (workers’ trade union) España, SILVIU TRAIAN ISPAS IFES Romania, JELENA SOMS Vice-President of the LDF Lithuania and FERNANDO MOURA from the FTDESTRA Portugal. They eloquently explained how digitization can be applied to the continuous training of workers in companies. They also analyzed the consequences of digitization of new technologies in the reduction of and changes in employment.


Dr. ALVARO DE LA TORRE GIL Professor at the Universidad de Francisco Vitoria. As a youth educator helping young people access employment, he encouraged university students, once they had finished their core studies, to become proficient in digital techniques, to learn how to work in a team, to increase their language skills, to design and present reports and projects, etc. which they could implement in the workplace.

Dr. JAVIER MORILLAS GÓMEZ Professor of Applied Economics at the San Pablo CEU University. Dr. Gómez presented views of young people in CEAT who are about to finish their university studies or higher vocational training. They explained why they had chosen their respective careers and the difficulties they were likely to experience in finding employment that was commensurate with their chosen subject faced with globalization and digitization. Professor Morillas encouraged them to continue their studies and obtain qualifications, as university careers are a good gateway to further opportunities.


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