Keywords: Industry 4.0, blue-collar workforce, manufacturing operations
The impact of the latest digital technologies on employment and job profiles has been under research for a long time. However, little is known about the relationship between 4.0 technologies and changes in blue-collar workforce in small and medium-sized manufacturing firms. Thanks to the integration of Uniocamere and Veneto Lavoro datasets, the study shows how the composition of the working class in manufacturing firms has changed over time following the introduction of different types of digital technologies. The results discussed in this article show ambiguous effects. Despite increases in Industry 4.0 technology adoption relate to increases in employment, we also observe the share of specialised workers shrinking, and routine jobs growing. These results put forward the need to build labour policies aimed at strengthening the development of digital as well as cognitive and creative competences of the labour force.