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Research Project of IMC Krems: “New World of Pay”

The research project of IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems was funded by the project fund Arbeit 4.0 of Lower Austria’s Chamber of Labour. It maps the expectations of employees in Industry 4.0 and provides important insights for Lower Austrian production companies.

The results of the research project “New World of Pay” were presented by Priv. Doz. Dr. Markus Latzke, Prof.(FH) Mag. Dr. Doris Berger-Grabner, MA and Mag.(FH) Mag. Christine Bachner, MSc.

The advancing automation in production companies requires adapted incentive systems for employees – job security is most important to them. This is how the results of the research project “New World of Pay – Expectations of Employees in Industry 4.0” at IMC Krems can be summarised. In a virtual final presentation, the results of the study were presented by the research team of IMC Krems, Prof.(FH) Mag. Dr. Doris Berger-Grabner, MA, Priv. Doz. Mag. Dr. Markus Latzke and Mag. (FH) Mag. Christine Bachner, MSc.

More automation, new requirements

Advancing automation, digital business models, globalisation and much more influence the work processes in manufacturing industrial companies. Automated processes increasingly replace manual work. However, the aim is not developing towards deserted production halls, but rather to integrate people into the overall structure by making optimal use of their own abilities and to perform control and decision-making functions. As a result, there will be changes both in the range of tasks and in the range of demands on employees. Incentive systems will also have to be rethought.
The study was carried out with a focus on Lower Austrian manufacturing companies and shows what employees expect from employers against the background of the changed work content and tasks due to Industry 4.0. It was shown that due to the changed working conditions in manufacturing companies – through automation, digitalisation, demographic changes, etc. –, the fulfilment of the psychological work contract plays a major role in employee satisfaction. A “Sequential Mixed Design” was used to collect and evaluate qualitative and quantitative data and to derive results.

Focus on job security

The results show that the changes in the content of the psychological employment contract can hardly be directly attributed to automation. What is most important for employees is a secure job, an appreciative corporate culture and opportunities for advancement within the company. Discrepancies in expectations are most apparent in relation to financial aspects, feedback from supervisors and timely communication of important information. Age-related differences have also emerged. The following aspects are particularly important to younger employees: work-life balance through flexible working hours and part-time work, participation in decision-making processes and taking on responsibility.

More understanding needed

The study also gives an outlook. Work content will continue to change and demands on employees’ qualifications will increase even more. There will be a strong demand for technical staff and flexible employees with a comprehensive understanding of processes in the future. Manufacturing companies which rely on digital tools can be supported with the results, which generate an understanding of how they can reduce their employees’ fears of digitalisation on the one hand and fulfil mutual obligations and expectations on the other. The results offer human resource managers starting points for designing personnel policy instruments in a more targeted way in the course of personnel development and increasing job satisfaction.