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School of Business | Department of Economics | Economics | 2015
Thesis number: 14220
Digitalization and work life: How new technologies are changing task content and skill demand for five selected occupations.
Author: Jääskeläinen, Aino
Title: Digitalization and work life: How new technologies are changing task content and skill demand for five selected occupations.
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Economics
Academic subject: Economics
Index terms: taloustieteet; economic science; teknologia; technology; kehitys; development; muutos; change; digitaalitekniikka; digital technology; työ; work; tulevaisuus; future
Pages: 112
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_14220.pdf pdf  size:3 MB (2657273)
Key terms: digitalization, technological change, task content, skill demand, future of work
Abstract:
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY:

The objective of this study is to understand how digitalization and new technologies are changing task content and skill demand for five selected occupations: business managers, technology innovators, higher education teachers, healthcare professionals and cybersecurity experts. The aim is to study how the productivity of the work of these occupations can be increased by realizing the benefits offered by digitalization. Consequently, this study examines the future division of work between humans and computers and provides recommendations on the required skills and changes in the nature of work that will be increasingly in demand in the near future due to the changes induced by digitalization.

METHODOLOGY AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK:

In this study a theoretical framework based on the bottlenecks to computerization was used to predict future skill demand for the occupations under study. The research was conducted using qualitative multiple case study approach in which each occupation represents one case. The data for the study was collected using semi-constructed interviews with representatives of each of the occupations. There were altogether 26 interviews which were analyzed using theoretical propositions and cross-case comparisons between the different occupations.

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS:

The main findings of this study indicate that despite of technological advancements, in the occupations under study humans still have a comparative advantage over computers in skills that require analytical and critical thinking, creative intelligence and social and emotional intelligence. Moreover, the common opportunities and challenges of digitalization among the occupations were identified and divided into three following main areas: information efficiency, technology efficiency and people efficiency. The benefits of digitalization can only be realized by tackling the identified challenges that prevent the increase in the efficiency of work for the occupations under study.

The role of digitalization in each of the occupations differed depending on how digitalization has changed the efficiency of work and nature of work. For cybersecurity experts, who are diginatives, the changes in both work efficiency and nature of work have and will be constantly increasing. On the other hand, higher education teachers and healthcare professionals are emerging digitalists on the verge of digital transformation, as the needed changes in the nature of work have not yet occurred to increase the efficiency of work accordingly. For business managers, who are efficient digitalists, the increase in the efficiency of work has been significant. However, the changes in the nature of work have been relatively small. Lastly, for technology innovators the changes in the nature of work have been tremendous while the change in work efficiency has not yet been realized. Therefore, they are named as being digital reinventionists. In order to make the work more productive for these five occupations, it is necessary to have the right skills in place and change the nature of work to fit to the needs of the new digital economy.
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