Publication Date



This overview report summarises the findings of 20 case studies looking at recent changes in the task content of five manufacturing occupations (car assemblers, meat processing workers, hand-packers, chemical products plant and machine operators and inspection engineers) as a result of factors such as digital transformations, globalisation and offshoring, increasing demand for high quality standards and sustainability. It also discusses some implications in terms of job quality and working life.

The study reveals that the importance of physical tasks in manufacturing is generally declining due to automation; that more intensive use of digitally controlled equipment, together with increasing importance of quality standards, involve instead a growing amount of intellectual tasks for manual industrial workers; and that the amount of routine task content is still high in the four manual occupations studied.

Overall, the report highlights how qualitative contextual information can complement existing quantitative data, offering a richer understanding of changes in the content and nature of jobs.


Suggested Citation
European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. (2018). New tasks in old jobs: Drivers of change and implications for job quality. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.