Employment Effects of Digitisation in the Länder and in Urban and Rural Areas

The labour-saving element of the user of digital technologies is offset by positive demand effects from falling production costs and a large number of new products. Due to the complexity of these partly opposing effects, theoretical predictions of the net effects of the use of digital technologies on employment are hardly possible a priori. A structured survey of the international literature so far shows predominantly positive effects of the increasing use of digital technologies. For Austria, too, the analyses carried out within the framework of the study provide predominantly positive findings: employment in highly digitised sectors has grown more strongly than total employment in all Länder since 2010. Urban regions show locational advantages for highly digitised sectors over other regions – with considerable heterogeneity between different indicators for the degree of digitisation – which have hardly decreased in the past. The net effects of a higher degree of digitisation of the local economy on overall local employment are also predominantly positive, with regions outside the centres – with appropriate human capital – and the more industrially oriented Länder likely to benefit in particular from a highly digitised local economy. An improvement in the broadband infrastructure (download speed) will also have positive effects on employment, especially for sparsely populated communities and for communities with initially low bandwidth as well as for employment in knowledge-intensive services. In contrast, broadband quality seems to play only a negligible role for the population development of the municipalities, despite the associated better opportunities for teleworking.