We are happy to share a guest blog from one of our Digital Day partner organizations, Annalisa Job, Adecco Group Switzerland, addressing one of the Digital Day themes: Work 4.0

The increased interconnectedness of machines and humans in supply chains and production processes is transforming the work place. New tools are changing entire work processes and require more mental work than manual labour. The “skill mismatch” between vacancies and competencies available on the market is intensifying against a backdrop of demographic change in Switzerland.

The digitalisation and automation of the work place is creating anxiety about what jobs will be left for people. It is true that machines are cheaper, they don’t take breaks or holidays, they don’t get sick, they don’t chat with colleagues and they don’t check their smartphones. These fears of robots replacing humans are largely unfounded: machines need humans, and many people are looking for less repetitive jobs.

Automation and digitalisation will impact Switzerland, but to a lesser degree than neighbouring countries. According to Ernst & Young, 52 percent of the Swiss workforce is currently employed in knowledge-intensive jobs. These jobs have already stood the test of time and adapted to new technologies. They are unlikely to disappear as a result of automation.

The study also shows that digitalisation and automation will create over 270,000 new jobs in Switzerland by 2025.A UBS study reveals that Switzerland will be unable to fill over 480,000 positions in the next 10 years due to shortages of specialised experts. The country will find it twice as challenging to bridge the gap as the Swiss labour market is already operating at near full employment.

New forms of employment like work 4.0 and the augmented workforce will need to help where certain skillsets are missing. This will require bringing in experts from outside the company to meet specific performance needs. The use of freelancers, short-term workers and crowd-workers will better meet the demand for more flexible, cheaper and faster delivery of services.

In Switzerland, more and more self-employed professionals work on assignment-based projects. The national social security system will have to adapt to meet the needs of this new category of professionals. New frameworks like digital signatures and interfaces must also improve to allow these new forms of employment to develop and thrive.

Switzerland is at the beginning of an uncertain journey into the digital future. Survival will require a continuous debate and an astutness for innovation. The advent of a digital economy and society requires the courage to face change and the ability to let go of old systems. Today, the government and businesses are focusing on retraining. Employees will have to learn to move with the flow of change and not swim against the current.