Digital Transformation and Work 4.0: Preparation of Youngsters for the Job Market

Digital Transformation and Work 4.0: Preparation of Youngsters for the Job Market

Anabela Mesquita, Luciana Oliveira, Adriana Oliveira, Arminda Sequeira, Paulino Silva
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3756-5.ch003
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Changes brought by the 4th Industrial Revolution and digitalization impact directly in the way we live, shape the organizations, and change the way we work. These changes imply some challenges in the preparation of youngsters to work in such an environment due to their characteristics. All over Europe, and in order to anticipate the scope and depth of the impacts that current and emerging technologies are imposing, some projects and initiatives are being carried out. The aim of this chapter is to subsidize a reflection about this complex environment by discussing the possible changes brought by the technologies and present some of these initiatives aiming to prepare students to thrive in this world of work.
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Literature highlights, in a very clear way, the impact that the 4th industrial revolution is having on people’s and organizations’ lives. In the last decades of the 20th Century, people and institutions saw their lives transformed, due to the emergence of a digitally-immersed society, which confirms an early prediction made by Alvin Toffler at the beginning of the 80s.

Today, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the digital transformation are an undeniable reality, with a huge impact on the way we live, socialize and work (Braña, 2019). Of course, these changes will not be the same all over the world and in all industries, but the trend is set globally. There will be depth and acceleration of change in the labour market (Guerra & de Gómez, 2019), and many of the tasks performed today by workers will not be essential in the future. Moreover, in some of the tasks, the changes will be evident sooner and faster (Guerra & de Gómez, 2019).

The most significant features of the changes concern its transforming role in general and the place of people in the production, economy, and life, having both positive and negative impacts. On the positive side, economies will potentially grow and businesses might rise profitability as the access to the global market is increasingly easier; on the negative side, many people might become unemployed if they don’t update their skills and abilities. This will require additional effort from governments, on one hand, to ensure decent living conditions to those who lose their jobs and to provide conditions to those who want to keep up with the transformations and, on the other hand, from companies and educational institutions to reduce the imbalance between supply and demand on labour sources (Chala & Poplavska, 2017).

With the emergence of so many technologies and trends, such as the Internet of Things (loT), automation, robotics, virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (Al), 3D printing, it is necessary to understand which tasks may be carried out by the available applications/software/robots and those that can (still) only be performed by humans. In this context, organizations and humans need to prepare to thrive in a new environment, where the motto is set by digital transformation. In other words, they need to develop (new) competencies, namely those related to communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and higher-order critical and digital skills, just to name a few. This context was advanced by Alvim Toffler when he stated that in the 21st century, the illiterate are not those who cannot read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn (Toffler, 1980).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Internet: It is the set of computer networks that can exchange data and messages using a common protocol.

Digital Transformation: Process of integrating digital technology in different contexts of companies and the life of individuals. Creates new ways of working, communicating and living.

Artificial Intelligence: Machines that are programmed to work and think like humans.

Fourth Industrial Revolution: Represents new resources for people and organizations. Used as a synonym for digital transformation, the fourth industrial revolution introduces new technology and leads to new ways of working.

Automation: Technology that allows tasks to be performed, often without human intervention.

Competencies: A combination of skills, aptitudes, knowledge that contribute to making the individual stand out for it's the difference and highlight the difference of the company.

Work 4.0: Brings together high technological level technologies and methods. Represents new ways of working.

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