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Implications of Industry 4.0 on industrial employment: A comparative survey from Brazilian, Chinese, and German practitioners

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  • Beier, Grischa
  • Matthess, Marcel
  • Shuttleworth, Luke
  • Guan, Ting
  • de Oliveira Pereira Grudzien, David Iubel
  • Xue, Bing
  • Pinheiro de Lima, Edson
  • Chen, Ling

Abstract

Industry 4.0 is fundamentally changing industrial employment around the globe. Yet, the burgeoning scientific and societal discourses both highlight the need for more empirical evidence of how Industry 4.0 affects industrial employment by taking into consideration varying circumstances and preconditions. Given the heterogeneity of industrial development and technology proliferation between countries, it is crucial to understand and compare future outlooks of industrial practitioners from different regions. This study analyses how Industry 4.0 will affect industrial employment comparing practitioners’ perceptions from Brazil, China, and Germany. Moreover, in our analysis we provide insights for different industrial sectors and company sizes. The study provides evidence that the effects of Industry 4.0 on staffing requirements differ between domains. Domains generally associated with larger shares of relatively low-skilled labour are expected to experience declines in staffing requirements, suggesting an increase in the polarisation between high- and low-skilled labour in terms of job opportunities. This effect is observable especially in larger companies. Moreover, an increase in the required employee qualifications is expected in all domains. Unlike in the other two countries, the inter-sectoral variability of perceptions is very small in China. There the company size seems to have the reverse effect on required qualifications compared to Brazilian and German companies, where less respondents expect higher qualifications for SMEs. Although we find sectoral differences both within and between countries, there is no clearly discernible trend allowing for generalizable sectoral conclusions, highlighting that impacts of Industry 4.0 on qualification should be further investigated under consideration of underlying contextual factors.

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  • Beier, Grischa & Matthess, Marcel & Shuttleworth, Luke & Guan, Ting & de Oliveira Pereira Grudzien, David Iubel & Xue, Bing & Pinheiro de Lima, Edson & Chen, Ling, 2022. "Implications of Industry 4.0 on industrial employment: A comparative survey from Brazilian, Chinese, and German practitioners," Technology in Society, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:teinso:v:70:y:2022:i:c:s0160791x22001695
    DOI: 10.1016/j.techsoc.2022.102028
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