, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 393–403 | Cite as

Digitalisation and employment in manufacturing

Pace of the digitalisation process and impact on employment in advanced Italian manufacturing companies
  • Daniela FreddiEmail author
Open Forum


The present work tackles the issue of the effects of digitalisation on employment. This issue has been attracting a growing interest, in particular because of the anxiety generated by the idea that digital technologies could cancel a large number of jobs. Although I agree with argument put forward in opposition to the existence of a causal link between technological innovation and increased productivity at the macroeconomic level, I believe that the novelty and pervasiveness of digital technologies require more in-depth micro-level analysis in order to understand the extent to which new digital technologies are currently employed by leading manufacturing companies and the ways new technologies are affecting employment. The empirical findings show that among the different technologies included under the umbrella of Industry 4.0, mainly robots have received a great deal of attention so far, while the current application and employment impact for other emerging technological opportunities such as 3D printing, Internet of Things, Augmented reality, Big data Analytics have not been studied yet. In relation to the qualitative changes of the labour market, our empirical research confirms that there are new types of skills that will be demanded in the future in manufacturing, in particular in relation to service provision and software development.


Digitalisation Technological change Manufacturing Industry 4.0 Employment Skills 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ires Emilia-RomagnaBolognaItaly

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