Firms, Technological innovation, Digital competences and Labour markets dynamics (SKILLS)

Along with globalisation, demographic change, immigration and tertiarisation, digitalisation and technological innovation are among the major structural changes that have radically changed the shape of OECD economies and labour markets in the last four decades. Digitalisation can be broadly defined as the “increasing use and networking of digital devices and the associated in products, services and processes” (Warning and Weber, 2018). In order to operationalise the term, Warning and Weber consider three forms of digitalisation: “digital networking in the internal production or service chain” (internal digitalisation), “digital networking with suppliers or customers” (external digitalisation) and “the use of learning systems, also in human-machine interactions”. As such, digitalisation is part of a broader and more long-standing technological change that poses a number of challenges for labour market institutions, that is, labour market policies and systems of skill generation (Eichhorst and Rinne, 2017).

The aim of the project is to address the effects digitalisation/new technologies have on the labour market and labour policies and the related education and skill regimes (Hall, Soskice, 2001; Gallie 2007). This broad goal is split up into two research objectives:

First, a cross-national analysis of the effectiveness of EU national systems of education in generating digital skills among the workforce and the actual attainment of digital skills among the different cohorts that constitute the labour market supply of the considered EU countries.

Second, an experimental analysis of the degree to which employers in (how many? Two-Three? More?) specific EU productive and institutional systems (f.e. Italy for Southern EU; Germany for the Central, Corporatist, European model and the UK for a liberal production regime. It might be interesting to have also a Scandinavian country for its specific policy relevance) require digital skills, perceive a digital skills-gap in their workforce and design mechanisms to correct it.


This project is carried out in collaboration with the Department of Sociology and Social Research. The people involved in the project are Prof. Paolo Barbieri and Giorgio Cutuli.

Date: 2021-2023