Diginord Stakeholder Brief

We live in an era of digitalization. As workplaces digitalize, workers increasingly use computers in their daily tasks, home office becomes more common, and robots may automate production processes. In ageing populations, these changes raise questions about how the growing number of older workers fare. On the one hand, possessing more limited digital skills can lower the employability of older individuals and marginalize this age group in the labour market. Job-related training may be needed to avoid a skills gap. On the other hand, digitalization can help older individuals in their work. It can create a more flexible work environment, which may improve their health management and work-life balance. Understanding these challenges and opportunities is essential for stakeholders. For example, it helps policymakers to better assess the needs for policy reforms, it helps companies to better target their activities, and it helps trade unions to better advocate for their members’ interests. The aim of this project has been to explore the situation of older workers in digitalizing workplaces in Nordic countries. Since these are countries that are advanced in their processes of population ageing and digitalization, they may provide clear evidence of how older workers may fare when workplaces digitalize.

Some key insights from the project are:   

●      One size does not fit all: how older workers respond to digitalization depends on, e.g., their occupation and educational background.

●      More change, less destruction: many older workers experience changes in work tasks due to digitalization, but only few lose their jobs.

●      Win some, lose some: digitalization makes remote work easier, but it can also make it harder to separate one’s work and private life.

●      The new normal: digital technologies presented perhaps initially a disruption for older workers, however, nowadays, they are commonly used by all age groups

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