Nearly half of the current employment in the south of the country “may be threatened” in “one to two decades” by digitalization and automation within the economy. This is per an estimate by the Walloon Institute for Evaluation, Forecasting and Statistics (“IWEPS”), which has produced a study upon the subject at the request of the Walloon government. This study was sent to the publication L’Echo, which has written an article on the subject in its Tuesday edition.
The total number of jobs “threatened” is some 564,000 posts. Those in administrative posts are under the greatest threat of being axed (116,500 jobs) in the face of automation. Staff providing direct services to individuals, shopkeepers and sales people are the second category of people heavily exposed.
It is worth noting that the IWEPS figures are a “broad estimate” based upon the “statistical possibly of substituting current jobs by machines.” The analysis does not take into account the creation of new jobs, linked to digitalization.
Another observation by IWEPS is, “Wallonia appears to be somewhat under-specialised within the digital sector in terms of the number of companies.” Indeed it only accommodates 25% of the 39,815 companies in this sector in Belgium, against the 59% based in Flanders (and 16% in Brussels).