Special Issue: Industry 4.0 – the future of Austrian jobs

  • Peter Haiss
  • Bernhard Mahlberg
  • Daniel Michlits

What are the socio-economic effects of the widespread introduction of robots, algorithms and digital technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning? Following Frey and Osborne (London futures agiletown: the relentless march of technology and London's response. Deloitte, 2014, Technol Forecast Social Change 114(C), 254-280, 2017) we apply the computerisation probabilities to occupations in Austria. We conclude that about 40 percent of the Austrian workforce is active in occupations that are very likely to undergo substantial changes regarding task structure, skill requirement and working environment in the future, causing challenges and opportunities. We also provide evidence that compared to men, women in Austria seem more likely to be affected by technological changes, with sectoral orientation playing a role. Following EBRD (Skills, employment and automation. Chapter 2 in: EBRD (2018): Transition Report 2018-19, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, London, 2018), we see a broader move towards job polarisation. We see this as distributive consequences of technological change and argue that the consequences of technology refashioning socio-economic development are influencing market processes, actors and inequalities. As in previous technological advances, coping with these changes will require efforts on the individual as well as on the political level.