The Highest Skilled Workers of Industry 4.0: New Forms of Work Organization for New Professions. A Comparative Study

Matteo Avogaro



Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to investigate the figure of the highest skilled workers of Industry 4.0, the need of protection and more freedom to operate in the labour market, and the possible solution to this issue.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper analyses the evolution of work organization fostered by Industry 4.0, and in particular the juridical figures of strategic employee sharing, new mutualist workers’ organizations and the French statutory regulation of 2016 concerning legal protection for workers on platform.

Findings – The paper highlights how the digitization of manufacturing will modify the condition and the requests of its highest skilled workers. To reply to this challenge, the better solution seems to be a flexible approach, regulated by statutory law – possibly integrated by collective bargaining – to allow the parties to chose the best juridical structure for each practical situation, avoiding rigid regulations that could impair the effectiveness of the solutions analysed.

Research limitations/implications – The research uses an analytical and comparative approach based on statutory regulation and workers’ organizational praxis, to provide for a detailed description of the considered juridical figures.

Originality/value – This paper analyses the most relevant juridical structures that could be adapted to assure a relevant degree of labour protection to the considered highest skilled workers, allowing them, at the same time, to provide their services to a wide range of customers, highlighting pros and cons of each considered strategy and suggesting an overall approach to this issue, from a European point of view.

Paper type – Qualitative Research Approach has been adopted in this Paper.

Keywords - Industry 4.0, Highest skilled workers, Strategic employee sharing, Umbrella companies, Associational unionism, Work on platform.