The Impact of Digitization on the German Labor Market – a Scenario Based on the Bibb-Iab Qualification and Occupational Field Projections (QuBe)

Tuesday, 17 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Robert HELMRICH, Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), Germany
Gerd ZIKA, Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Germany
Political consulting requires scientifically sound forecasts for future planning and design. This means that forecasts must be theoretically and empirically well-founded and comprehensible. These predictions can be based on a wide variety of forecasting methods. Which method should be used depends on the respective question, or what knowledge is to be gained about the future.

The scenario method is particularly suitable for predicting different futures or different possible future outcomes. It is usually based on quantitative multi-equation models. The starting point here is the assumption of different frame conditions and action alternatives. In the scenarios, possible and probable "futures" are summarized.

On the basis of the BIBB-IAB qualification and occupational field projections (QuBe-Projekt.de), which illustrate the long-term development of labor supply and demand, we will present a practical application of the scenario method. Our topic for the scenario is a digital revolution in the next decade.

In a 5-step analysis of this scenario (cf. Wolter et al. 2015) we examine the impacts of

(1) increased investments of enterprises in equipment

(2) the state in the network infrastructure

(3) decreased personnel and material costs of the enterprises

(4) changed pattern of demand for occupations and skills

(5) a potentially increasing demand for goods.

The cumulative effects of these five partial scenarios are compared with a baseline scenario which contains no advanced development path to a digitized economy.

The results show that economy 4.0 will accelerate the structural change towards more services. In this process labour force movements between branches, occupations and job requirements are much larger than changes in the number of employees in total. The turnover on the labour market is accompanied by an increasing value added which is leading not only to more economic assets but also – due to higher requirements for the labour force – to higher aggregate wages.