Risks to job quality from digital technologies: Are industrial relations in Europe ready for the challenge?

Janine Berg, Francis Green, Laura Nurski and David A Spencer (2023), European Journal of Industrial Relations

We examine job quality effects of new digital technologies, using the European frame of seven job quality domains: Pay, Working Time Quality, Prospects, Skills and Discretion, Work Intensity, Social Environment, and Physical Environment. Theoretical effects are ambivalent across all domains. The analysis of these effects confirms that digital technologies can both improve and harm job quality depending on how they are used. In light of this analysis and to think through the challenge of regulating digital technologies, we review emerging regulations across several European countries. Drawing on the principles of human-centred design, we argue that worker participation is important for securing good job quality outcomes, at both the innovation and adoption stages. We also consider the application of data protection legislation to the regulation of job quality. Overall, the paper extends debate about the future of work beyond employment and pay, on to a consideration of job quality more broadly.

Share this: