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Jobs are becoming more and more “digitalised”

Although there is still a significant variance in digitalisation in different jobs the trend applies to all of them. The level of digitalisation is growing, no matter what your job is. Credit: Brookings analyses

A new report produced by Brookings on the “Digitalisation of American Workforce” compares the different penetration of digitalisation in 545 jobs in the USA, and found out that for 517 of these the level of digitalisation has increased (Click on the link and play with the map of jobs showing the variation in the period 2002-2016).

Basically all sectors have seen an increasing penetration of digitalisation, that is the increasing use of digital tools and digital processing. Some, as shown in the graphic, have already reached a almost 100% digitalisation, meaning that whatever is being done in that job is done through digital tools (like software developers – not unexpectedly), others are still seeing a low grade of digitalisation, like in the personal care aiders. Yet, even for these lowly digitalised jobs the increase in the last few years is significant.

This increased penetration of digitalisation changes the way people work, as well as the requirements, the skills and knowledge, for the job. On the one hand it means that schools, and universities, have to change their programs to educate people to the new digital jobs, and on the other hand we need to have ways for people already on the job to update their knowledge to keep fitting with the changing job demands.

This is something that is being done at EIT Digital with the Master, Doctoral and Professional Schools programs.

It is also something that is being pursued by the IEEE FDC initiatives that are delivering educational webinars and education materials matching the evolution of technology and of its applications.

If you look at the map created by Brookings you will notice that a few jobs are decreasing their demand on digitalisations. And here comes the surprise. This is happening in the ones that have reached the highest demand for digitalisation and the decrease is due to the taking over of part of those jobs’ activities by computers. It has become so digitalised that part of the human contribution is no longer required.

I was speaking recently with managers in a systems integrator company in Italy and they told me that there is a decreasing need of people writing software, nowadays you can find it already written. It is much more important to understand what your client need and work on the client’s processes to digitalise them, using available software packages that just need to be customised.

Amazing to see how digitalisation is changing digitalisation ….

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.