Digitalization of service work – University of Copenhagen

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Digitalization of service work

Research project

The digitalization of work over the last decade has changed job functions and types of jobs in the private sector. Today, much work in private service industries  takes place via digital platforms. At the same time digitalization has enabled the automation of many tasks, which changes the job content. Good examples are supermarkets where sales assistants are replaced with self-scanners, and workers take on new job functions.

In this research project, associate professor Anna Ilsøe will investigate how employers and employees in private services are affected by the changes in work that comes with digitalization. Which job functions will emerge, which job functions will disappear - and which tasks will employers buy from external providers? Which jobs arise, and which jobs become redundant? The focus will be on retail trade and business services, which despite a high degree of digitalization has been less researched. Theoretically,  the project draws on segmentation theory, conceptualizations of workplace flexibility and Industrial Relations.

The research project consists of three sub-projects; 1. an analysis of the general service labour market in Denmark and the degree of digitalization in different parts hereof (desk research), 2. an analysis of digitalization in retail trade and business services in Denmark, Sweden and Germany and social partner responses (desk research and interviews) and 3. two surveys among employers and employees in Denmark on the digitalization of service work.

Researcher: Associate Professor Anna Ilsøe and research assistant Louise Weber Madsen.
Project period: March 2016 - November 2017.
Financing: The Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv), The Union of  Commercial and Clerical Employees – Retail (HK Handel), The Union of  Commercial and Clerical Employees – Private sector (HK/Privat) and FAOS' programme funding  from 2014 to 2018.
For further information please contact: Anna Ilsøe, tel. +45 35 32 32 12, e-mail or Louise Weber Madsen, tel. +45 35 33 10 22, e-mail