Labour marketPress

Sustainable employment in the age of digitalisation: challenges, obstacles and opportunities

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SEAD – Sustainable employment in the age of digitalisation: challenges, obstacles and opportunities

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Christophe Vanroelen

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SEAD – Sustainable employment in the age of digitalisation: challenges, obstacles and opportunities

2019 | belspo BRAIN-be

The BRAIN research project of Christophe Vanroelen (VUB), Nick Deschacht (KUL), Miet Lamberts (KUL), Esteban Martinez (ULB) and François Pichault (ULg) has been granted.

This Interdisciplinary research has the following objectives:

The main objective of this proposal is to assess the potential for sustainable work and employment in the digital era, by identifying challenges, obstacles and opportunities in new and changing labour market niches. We will inform policy answers aimed at optimizing opportunities and limiting vulnerability of workers. This general objective will be realized through a number of sub-objectives:

(1) A first objective in this project is to study the ‘real’ processes of change in work and employment related to new technology. We will therefore study recent trends in Belgian labour market dynamics, labour market composition and the content of work tasks.

(2) Our second objective is to study the processes and effects of occupational change related to technological innovation in the Belgian labour market in terms of their skills composition, content and quality. We will perform quantitative analyses of national data and targeted qualitative case studies on specific occupations.

(3) The third objective is to study the socio-demographic characteristics, economic profile, skills composition, job content and employment conditions of those engaging in digital platform work (WP 1 and 4). We will deploy a mixed methods approach to detailed case studies of platform and digital freelance work.

(4) The search for organizational models that optimize job quality in a context of technological innovation is a fourth objective (WP2). In case studies, using a sociotechnical approach , we will analyse the interplay between organisational (re)design and new technologies.

(5) Investigating the interrelation between technological innovation, ‘autonomy supportive HR-practices’ and ‘well-being-promoting management styles’ in order to promote sustainable employment constitutes a fifth objective. For that end, we will use purposefully selected case studies of organisational settings and occupations.

(6) Our findings will be communicated in such a way that they can inform effective policies aimed at optimizing opportunities and limiting vulnerability for workers.