Digitalization changes the perspective of economic forms and employment

April 25, 2018

Services and collaborative structures will dominate the economy more in future. Professor Marion A. Weissenberger-Eibl, Head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI and Chair for Innovation and Technology Management at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology KIT drew this conclusion when speaking to members of the Kaufmanns-Casinos e.V. in Munich. Digitalization and automatization also affect the working environment. Everything that does not have a standardized procedure has a future.

In her impulse lecture Professor Weissenberger-Eibl presented important trend lines, which have to be expected as the economic world becomes increasingly digitalized, to   the guests from industry, science and society. From the innovation researcher's point of view particularly employment will change. Cross-project insights of Fraunhofer ISI show that individual and partly-individualized consulting has great potential in order to generate and implement markets.

“About 12 per cent of employees in Germany could be affected by the loss of their jobs through automatization“, said Professor Weissenberger-Eibl. “Essentially, however, activities and fields of activity will change, furthermore, new job descriptions will emerge. We need to understand and shape this change“. Specialization and the division of labor will therefore continue to progress. Psycho-social competences will become more important. The complexity, which comes with increasing digitalization, requires, conversely, solution competences in the areas of development, control or optimization.

Qualification must be demand-oriented

Therefore, young recruits must qualify today accordingly: Handling digital technologies as well as dealing with digital and social media are becoming basic requirements for a professional career. In a company well-connected teams will in future solve complex problems via digital platforms. Against this background of changing job descriptions and types of employment, adaptability is one of the most central competences of tomorrow's working population.

Life-long learning as a key feature

Individual learning and further development as a success factor are becoming the center of the professional career. “We will have to continually and at great speed learn to handle new questions and areas of specialization“, explained Professor Weissenberger-Eibl to the audience. Knowledge and skills have to be in step with technological development. Furthermore, despite progress in the field of artificial intelligence, in the medium term learning will remain a unique characteristic of human beings.


The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI analyzes the origins and impacts of innovations. We research the short- and long-term developments of innovation processes and the impacts of new technologies and services on society. On this basis, we are able to provide our clients from industry, politics and science with recommendations for action and perspectives for key decisions. Our expertise is founded on our scientific competence as well as an interdisciplinary and systemic research approach.