The Strategist

German Bitcom: Digital technologies threaten millions of jobs in Germany

02/08/2018 - 13:29

The spread of digital technologies will have an extremely negative impact on the labor market in Germany. Until 2022, 3.4 million people may lose their jobs, according to a new study.

The increasing use of digital technology and robotics in Germany can lead to the elimination of 3.4 million jobs until 2022. The authors of a study, commissioned by the Federal Association of Information, Telecommunications and Computer Technologies Bitcom, came to this conclusion. "Thus, every tenth of the current 33 million jobs can disappear," the report says, quoted by FAZ newspaper. According to the research, digital technologies threaten the existence of every fourth enterprise with more than 20 employees.

Only 10 percent out of 200,000 jobs that existed in the mid-1990s in the communications field are now preserved, Bitcom reports. According to the organization’s head Achim Berg, similar changes threaten banks and insurance companies, as well as enterprises of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. In the next 20 years, half of the professions may disappear in these spheres, Berg told FAZ.

Bitcom criticizes German politicians, who, in the opinion of its representatives, do not pay due attention to this topic. "Almost every discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos discussed the topic of artificial intelligence. In Berlin, I practically did not hear anything about it," said Achim Berg.

Until now, digitalization has not had a negative impact on the labor market in Germany. On the contrary, many companies complain about the lack of qualified personnel. Unlike Bitcom, the Association of German Machine Builders and Manufacturers of Industrial Equipment (VDMA) believes that digital technology does not carry a threat. Using these "technologies will lead to a significant increase in productivity in almost all areas," the VDMA statement said. This will change activities and characteristics of the professions, but in sum, digital technology will lead to the emergence of more new jobs than they will be lost.