The EU seeks to enhance cooperation with Africa to promote the search for locally adapted solutions to global challenges, which often hit Africa hardest. UNTANGLED research fits with these objectives as it explores the impact of globalisation, technological transformations and demographic change on labour markets in the EU and beyond. Our project includes researchers from Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The 5 July event aimed to introduce UNTANGLED to stakeholders interested in how globalisation, technological transformations and demographic change are impacting labour markets in the European Union. The webinar brought together 30 participants from academia, think tanks and government.
“Our goal is to engage stakeholders from the very beginning of the research process,” Holtgrewe said. “I think this distinguishes UNTANGLED from other projects, which engage them only at the end, when the findings are presented at the final conference. We believe inputs from labour market actors, policymakers and fellow researchers can help us craft better research and deliver better policy advice – and this exchange of ideas can be mutually beneficial.”
Karolien Lenaerts of HIVA – KU LEUVEN kicked off the event with a presentation introducing UNTANGLED’s objectives and methods. That was followed by Holtgrewe‘s presentation on how UNTANGLED plans to collaborate with stakeholders. Next, the ZSI team prepared a short online quiz in which participants were asked about their least favourite conjecture on technological change, globalisation or demographic change.
UNTANGLED researchers then had the opportunity to talk about their current projects. Ludivine Martin of LISER presented her recent work on how information and communication technologies affect employee motivation. While use of websites, workflow management tools and e-mail had a partly positive contribution to worker motivation, the use of groupware and web conferencing had negative or neutral effects. Thus, managers need to develop practices to enhance the positive effects of digital tools and counterbalance their negative effects. Piotr Lewandowski of IBS showed that automation of routine tasks affects workers differently depending on their age: younger workers are more likely to be negatively affected by automation.
The webinar succeeded in its goal of initiating a discussion between project participants and stakeholders, and provides a good foundation for building engagement, Holtgrewe said. Stay tuned for more such events!