Symposium: “The digital transformation in China and Germany: Impacts on the Future of Work”

Event: Sustainable Growth Model

The digital transformation is in full swing across the world. In just a few years, long-established ecomomic structures and business models are being swept aside by the emerging champions of the “sharing economy” as well as by the forces of pervasive digitalization and increasing automatisation of production.

To explore and discuss the opportunities and challenges of these trends, FES Shanghai and the Shanghai Municipal Government’s Counsellors' Office on November 12th 2018 jointly held the symposium “The digital transformation in China and Germany: Impacts on the Future of Work, Skills Training and Social Security”.

Both countries are facing similar problems in trying to regulate this sweeping transformation while also reaping its rewards. During the symposium, the participants stressed the importance of upholding workers’ and consumers’ interests in this transformation. Reskilling workers whose professions were undergoing rapid transformation or even becoming obsolete would benefit the economy and society of China and Germany as a whole, despite the added economic friction, due to the greater social stability and retention of knowledge.

However, for this to happen, the education and training systems of both countries would have to be significantly overhauled. During the discussions, the case of the German dual education system was raised several times as a potential answer to the challenge of better preparing workers for the digital transformation. Other ideas like national-level support systems to encourage life-long learning were discussed, as were the new (and old) challenges of integrating work and child care.

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