Prognos has launched an investigation as part of a social partnership project for the ECEG and industriAll European Trade Union. The study is the first of its kind to examine the effects of innovation and digital transformation on the workplace in the chemical industry on a Europe-wide scale. One of the core findings of the newly published study is that the first wave of digital transformation (i.e. digitising analogue data and integrating cloud solutions) in the European chemical industry has been successfully accomplished. The implementation rate, however, depends on the size of the company. Especially micro and small enterprises (<50 employees) lag behind.
The second wave of digital transformation is driven by the Internet of Things, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automation and Augmented Reality (AR). They will take effect in the near future, i.e. within the next 5 years. Progress in the field of AI could lead to drastic implementation gaps between very large companies and SMEs.
The technological changes also affect the working environment. Increasing opportunities for mobile working with more autonomy for employees on the one hand, and increased levels of multitasking on the other, are some of the predominant changes here. Special attention must be paid to psychological stress, which is expected to increase significantly as a result of the digital transformation, especially in larger companies.
Overall, the study highlights that the digital transformation is not only a technological but also a cultural and social transformation and that it is not happening in a vacuum but in the context of global competition.
Authors: Dr. Jan-Philipp Kramer (Lead), Janosch Nellen, Moritz Schrapers, Adriana Cruz
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