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The Digitalised Job Economy

8 months ago by Andrea Amato

Exploring the impact of digitalisation and its global effects in the jobs market.

The global economy is sifting through a digital transformation that extends beyond traditional nodes of computerisation and telecommunication strategies. The following post will explore the differences between digitalisation and digitisation, then examples of digitalisation are presented, followed by notes on economic impact, and concluded with challenges currently faced by digitalisation.

The difference between digitisation and digitalisation

Digitisation and digitalisation are often used interchangeably in the literature, though in reality these terms represent different meanings. Digitisation refers to the conversion from analogue to digital data, for example exploring photography through film cameras first to later purchase a digital camera. The advent of modern technologies urged digitisation to transform most tools and media, and this will continue to influence IT and all jobs in Malta.

On the other hand, digitalisation focuses on adapting current business models to follow new and upcoming technologies. Digitalisation allows organisations to remain up to date with the present economy that favours a strong technological presence. Following technological trends generates novel ways for organisations to offer their services and products, as well as discover entry into different markets. Staying relevant is key here—where organisations willing to adapt to new technologies gain a competitive advantage.

Examples of digitalisation applied today

In further exploring digitalisation and its perks, it is worth considering how digital information has transformed multiple industries, including finance and banking jobs in Malta. Generally, digitalisation has allowed information processing that was previously unavailable. This effectiveness offered by technology has allowed the jobs market to work more efficiently.

One notable example of digitalisation comes from Apple and Amazon’s incentive to join the healthcare industry. These world-renowned tech organisations introduced technologies such as biometrics and AI to healthcare institutions, allowing for proper measuring opportunities and better care management.

Digitalisation has also gained popularity within banking jobs and fintech, allowing delivery of services to be instant and automated. Across all industries, the generation of big data is an important facet of digitalisation in ensuring proper processing of large quantities of data. The ever-increasing prominence of digital transformation will cater the needs of businesses and consumers whilst developing further technological opportunities for software developers and engineers alike.

Economic impact

Digitalisation is transforming the economy in how institutions interact with one another and effectively deliver services. Understanding how it influences the job market and economy is important in keeping up with trends and policy implications. In a survey conducted by Elding & Morris (2018) found that across all sectors, organisations mostly applied big data and cloud computing to adapt in their business models. Other segments such as e-commerce and AI were also prominent, which are important factors when considering business-to-consumer services.

In the same survey, researchers found that digitalisation supported an increase of sales across organisations and improved accessibility to customers. The advantages related to communication such as flexibility were common reasons as to why participants believed digitalisation increases productivity. This relates to similar findings for remote and work from home jobs. However, levels of productivity within organisation varies significantly, where top-tier technology firms who possess the technological resources gain a competitive edge (OECD, 2019). With this in mind, recent conversations surrounding digitalisation offers inclusive policies applicable to a wider range of organisations.

Challenges and solutions for digitalisation

The acceleration of technology leads to an economy that rapidly adapts, creating a competitive divide between organisations willing and able to alter their business models and lower-income businesses. This divide is complex, for example, governmental institutions are faced with issues such as skills shortage and lack of adequate equipment whilst addressing technological concerns such as cybersecurity and data protection (de Mello & Ter-Minassian, 2020). In this way, digitalisation should be developed to co-operate with organisations from all income levels where possible.

With the above in mind, challenges that come with digitalisation leaves room for opportunities to support inclusive practices. The following policy recommendations are adapted from OECD’s (2019) report on digitalisation and productivity:

Openness to upskilling: Organisations can provide educative resources and practices that allow employees to keep up with a digital economy,
Facilitate career transitions: As businesses adapt their models to support digitalisation, employers should monitor and care for ensuring a smooth transition for employees to follow new business requirements such as remote working, and
Understand novel challenges: Digitalisation comes with competitive challenges to keep up with an ever-changing economy. Organisations need to be prepared for what challenges they will be facing as a result of digitalisation and ensure an equal playing field for employees.

All in all, technological advancements dominate the job market and economy on a global scale. As organisations strive to remain on trend and adapt their current business models, policies should also reflect inclusive practices that support the needs of employees alongside a changing working society.