Are you afraid of technological change

Work: Digitization scares Germans: three quarters fear losing their jobs

The economy is changing: new technologies are being developed, new jobs are being created. But not everyone is happy about the change. According to a recent survey, almost three quarters (73 percent) of people in Germany are afraid of losing their job. For many, the focus is on technological change, as the consulting agency Edelman has evaluated in its current "Trust Barometer". The report is to be presented on Monday in Berlin.

Auto production is already falling

"People foresee a bad future, they are nervous," says agency boss Richard Edelman. It is feared that jobs will disappear with increasing automation. This fruit is not entirely unfounded. An analysis by the Center of Automotive Research (CAR) at the University of Duisburg-Essen only recently came to the conclusion that almost 234,000 jobs at automobile manufacturers and suppliers in Germany could be lost by 2030. Car production - one of the most important branches of industry - is already falling in the country: In 2019, according to CAR, at 4.67 million units, it fell to its lowest level in 22 years. Audi will cut 9,500 jobs in Germany by 2025; in return, only 2,000 new jobs are to be created in areas such as e-mobility and digitization. At Daimler, an austerity program will cost at least 10,000 jobs over the next three years.

Fear of losing one's job also gives rise to fear of earning less money or losing social recognition, says agency boss Richard Edelman. According to the study, half of the people in this country think that technological change is advancing at too high a speed. Business and government have to work hand in hand to regain people's trust, says Edelman. Fair wages and opportunities for employee training are important. Edelman named tax incentives for companies as possibilities, for example in training and further education or in the offer of distance learning for employees.

Labor minister wants to prevent rising unemployment with qualifications

Politicians also want to cushion the consequences of digitization with the help of training. "I take the worries seriously," says Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) to our editorial team. The best protection against unemployment is qualification. "Our estimates assume that up to 1.3 million jobs could be lost within the next decade as a result of digital change, but that 2.1 million new jobs will also be created," says the minister. "With the Qualification Opportunities Act, we have given companies a powerful tool for investing in their workforce and qualifying them for new tasks." With the planned work of tomorrow law, his ministry wants to facilitate qualification and further training for companies that are stuck in structural change. "My goal is for everyone to benefit from digitization and not just a few," stressed Minister of Labor Heil.

However, there is little confidence that this could succeed. Only about one in four (23 percent) expects that they will be better off economically in the next five years. More than half questioned capitalism (55 percent) and the existing system (61 percent).

The "Edelman Trust Barometer" is an annual study. (with dpa)

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