Highly educated experts utilize digital tools extensively

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A recent study, Asiantuntijatyö alustatalouden aikakaudella (Expert work on the era of the platform economy), conducted by the SWiPE research project, explored how digitalisation of work and growth of platform economy and the challenges and opportunities they bring, are reflected in the work of highly educated Akava members who do expert work. The survey material was collected from 2 326 members of Akava, a trade union confederation of affiliates for highly educated people, from November 2017 to January 2018. In the SWiPE consortium, project researcher Sanna Rouhiainen from the University of Turku was responsible for the research.

The results of the study show that the Akava experts utilize digital tools quite extensively. Expert work is largely digitized and digital tools are part of the everyday life of experts. New tools and changing skills requirements also put demands on the development of knowledge. The skills are largely developed on one’s own initiative and at own cost.

– The development of knowledge and skills should not just be the responsibility of the employees themselves. This is not sustainable in the long term, says Professor Anne Kovalainen, leaders of the SWiPE research project.

The Akava members strongly believe that the development of technology and the new skill requirements do not undermine their position in the labour market. On the contrary, job opportunities are expected to improve thanks to new digital tools. Likewise, the amount of work will not be expected to be reduced despite the new digital tools.

Despite the fact that digitalisation and the potential of technological development are already widely exploited and the earning opportunities offered by platforms are familiar, the opportunities offered by the platform economy for earning purposes and selling their own expertise, they have not yet been utilized by the Akava members, who work as experts.

– The Akava members with the highest education, doctor’s degree, are most interested in platform work, says Sanna Rouhiainen from the University of Turku, project researcher of the SWiPE research project.

Asiantuntijatyö alustatalouden aikakaudella (Expert work on the era of the platform economy) report is fully available here. The report is in Finnish.