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Dr Carl Benedikt Frey, Co-Director and Oxford Martin Citi Fellow on the Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment, contributes to the 'Technology, Globalisation and the Future of Work in Europe' collection of essays on employment in a digitised economy with 'Bridging the Skills Gap', a chapter on job automation, co-authored with Thor Berger.
In recent decades, European labour markets have witnessed substantial disruption as the workplace has been restructured to accommodate the arrival of digital technologies. Since the 1980s, these technologies have substituted for many routine jobs, particularly those involving rule-based activities, which can easily be specified in computer code. By contrast, newly created jobs have typically become more cognitive in nature, raising the demand for workers with problem-solving, creative and social skills. Looking forward, the digitisation of the economy will further alter the skills needed at work. A key challenge for governments around Europe is to help workers who are made redundant to transition into new types of jobs.