PUEB research projects 2018-2020

The impact of digitization of the economy on the skills and professional qualifications, and their impact on working conditions and labour relations


Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion DG
Employment and Social Governance, Social dialogue

Call VP 2018/004 Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Project ID number:  VP/2018/004/0006

Start date: 1.03. 2019

Finish date: 30. 08.2020

Amount of funding 321 700 EUR


The project aims to improve the experience and knowledge of labour relations through analysis and research to identify convergences and existing differences between the participating member States, taking advantage of synergies from joint work. The main objective of this project is to analyse and research, especially in comparative terms, the role that EU, public authorities in general and the social dialogue represented by the main social partners should play in relation to the digitalization of the global economy in order to improve the experience and knowledge of industrial relations and identify recommendations and good practices that can be disseminated at European level.

In relation to the research objectives above, we raise eight research questions to investigate:

1. What are the enablers and challenges of stakeholders and social partners in the process of acquisition of digital skills by workers?

2. Are there national public policies (educational and training), agreed, prior to their implementation, with the social partners, in order to improve their efficiency for the acquisition of skills and professional qualifications that demand the new jobs emerged as a result of the digitalization process?

3. What is the role of collective bargaining in relation to technological changes and their impact on employment and labor relations? Is collective bargaining the instrument that can facilitate an adequate governance of the strategies of digital transformation of productive organizations through the dynamization of labour relations in a proactive sense, that is, anticipating changes and their effects, and balancing in relation to these?

4. To what extent is social dialogue a conciliatory element in the policies carried out by enterprises?

5. Is digitization an obstacle to workers' access to forms of union representation and collective bargaining processes?

6. Does digitization affect the quality of employment? Does the creation of new forms of employment relationships unknown and the increase of self-employment linked to e-commerce favors the lack of stability and job insecurity?

7. Does the digitalization of employment raise the risk of increasing inequality in the distribution of income, and even causing a fall in the wages of less qualified jobs? What measures could be adopted by the public authorities and social partners?

8. How do European and national measures, such as the Digital Competency Framework (DigComp), help European citizens to self-assess, set learning objectives, identify training opportunities and facilitate job search?

9. What type of union proposals are aiming at promoting women's access to positions of responsibility and avoiding a gender gap motivated by the fourth industrial revolution around digitization?

Consortium coordinator: Universidad de Sevilla

• In Spain (Seville) the case of the study is the Company Airbus, by the University of Seville and the collaboration with the Trade Union CCOO.
• In Hungary (Budapest) the case of the study is the Company Flextronics, by the International Business School and in collaboration with the Trade Union Central Metal Trade Union (Hungary) (Vasas Szakszervezeti Szövetség).
• In Italy (Lecce) the case of the study is the Distretto Tecnologico Aerospaziale DTA, by the University of Salento, Dipartimento di Storia, societa studi sull’uomo.
• In Poland (Poznań) researchers will provide information on the employment situation in Poznan, focusing on the situation of lack of digital skills.
• In Germany (Wilhelmshaven), the Jade Univesity of Applied Sciences and in collaborations with with the Union Landesbezirk Nord Gregor Best (NGG) is going to study the cases of two companies

Principal investigator at PUEB

Dr hab. Agnieszka Ziomek, prof. UEP 

Head of Department of Economic and Local Government Policy

Institute of Economics




Dr Tomasz Szubert

Department of Monetary Policy and Financial Markets

Institute of Finance