Last November 9, Joana Mendonça, director of the Laboratory of Technology Management and Policy of IN+, participated at the conference "The Challenges to the Future of Employment in the Automotive Industry" by invitation of Mangualde City Hall. The presentation “Technology evolution and the future of work in Portugal” focused on the impact that employment automation will have on the future of industry and jobs in Portugal. This is a key issue to address as the integration of digital technologies will profoundly change the production paradigm across the world, many of today's jobs will cease to exist in the future and many of the jobs of the future are yet to be designed. Existing studies on the so called Industry 4.0 are polarized between those foreseeing new occupational categories and the release from routine work, and those predicting the massive replacement of workers by machines and the disappearance of workplaces.
In January 2017, the Portuguese Government announced a national strategy for Industry 4.0, consisting of 64 measures, both public and private, with the main objective of accelerating the adoption of industry 4.0 by the business sector. This is estimated to have an impact on more of 50 thousand companies operating in Portugal. However, knowing that the needs of acting in digital contexts change at a great speed, these measures will always have to be constantly updated. COTEC Portugal is the entity responsible for monitoring how the measures are being implemented and also for updating them.
Taken from McKinsiey report A Future that Works: Automation, Employment and Productivity. No data is available for Portugal.
Globally, we can find three major initiatives researching on this topic: OECD The Future of Work initiative studies the impact of demographic change, globalization and technological development on labour market inclusion; the International Labour Organization (ILO) also launched a Future of Work Initiative to understand the challenges of the future of work, and contribute to its development; and the MIT Work of the Future taskforce develops a multidisciplinary research agenda on the jobs of the future, bringing together industry, academia, government, foundations, and other players.
Nevertheless, data regarding portuguese reality is scarce, as highlighted by Joana Mendonça during her speach. "The Challenges to the Future of Employment in the Automotive Industry" was done within the initiative Jobs for the Future - Portugal, launched by IN+/IST and CEiiA, with Quasar and Universidade do Minho as partners, aiming to fill this gap. This initiative will go through four phases: identify and promote existing studies on industry 4.0 in Portugal; identify the jobs and occupations in risk of automation and understand the social impact of those changes; identify and follow up case studies in Portuguese industry; develop a case study that suit working on the process of human-machine co-creation and collaboration.