Impact of digitalisation on future work skills

Digitisation will have profound effects on the labour market. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) therefore decided that an in-depth analysis was needed to determine how digitisation will change work skills requirements on the Swiss labour market.

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SECO has awarded a contract to SFIVET and the research and consulting firm INFRAS in Zurich to jointly conduct a study that will examine four research questions:

1. How have work skills requirements on the Swiss labour market changed over the past five to ten years?

2. Is it possible to observe changes in work skills requirements on the labour market?

3. What steps are currently being taken to adapt existing work skills?

4. What work skills have gained/lost value on the labour market?

Digitisation offers both economic opportunities and risks for specific branches and occupational groups. Despite relatively high price and wage levels, the Swiss labour market has remained robust in the past in response to challenges of structural change. This study should facilitate successful planning of the adjustment process to address the challenges of digitisation. 


In order to study the previously described effects of digitisation on the labour market, a blend of different methods is needed. Initially, we shall carry out an extensive review of literature, conduct a few exploratory interviews with experts and gather data on the structure of the Swiss economy. This will provide us with an overview of digitisation in general and how it specifically relates to Switzerland. We shall then conduct a quantitative analysis of data sources such as the Federal Statistical Office's Swiss Labour Force Survey (SLFS) and the University of Zurich's Swiss Job Market Monitor. This will allow us to identify trends in specific economic branches and occupations, including the number of employed and unemployed persons or salary levels over past fifteen years. The next step will be to conduct around twenty interviews with experts to shed light on which skills have become more/less important as a result of digitisation and what adaptation processes are taking place in the various economic branches, companies and occupations. A workshop with experts will then be organised to finalise the study. For this workshop, we will invite 10-16 participants to carefully examine five relevant occupations or job profiles. For each occupation, future work skills will be categorised into important/less important/entirely new/obsolete.