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AI & youth employability: crafting the digital future of European workspaces

As AI and new technologies continue to shape our workspaces, it is crucial to strike a balance in leveraging these tools and ensuring well-being and genuine human connections.


Anna Lahtinen

vanhempi tutkija, Senior Researcher
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu
Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences

Published : 26.10.2023

The Erasmus+ Digital Job Onboarding project is lighting the way for young job-seekers to help bridge the digital divide. In the project, we are developing training modules and crafting pathways for the youth to seamlessly adapt to an increasingly digital workspace.

In a collaboration led by FH Joanneum and involving diverse partners, including Haaga-Helia, Jugend am Werk, Fenice Green Energy and DEX Innovation Centre, our unified mission is clear: to improve digital employability among European youth.

This article discusses the new age of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and new tech in a workplace.

AI in action: more than just a trend

A staggering 75 % believe their work can be enhanced or streamlined through AI and automation (Nikina-Ruohonen, Kauttonen & Humala 2021). This is not mere speculation as AI is already reshaping work dynamics. From chatbots transforming customer service to software robotics that are revolutionizing financial management, AI is not just a fleeting trend, but a fundamental change.

Advanced analytics, speech recognition, and the fusion of virtual and augmented reality are all testaments to how technology is blurring the lines between virtual and tangible realities in the professional world.

Yet, the advent of such technologies brings forth a spectrum of emotions. While many view these advancements with curiosity, pondering over how they can expedite communications and boost efficiency, some also feel the twinge of apprehension over their broader implications.

The human touch in a tech-driven workspace

Companies prioritize personal organization skills in new recruits – work-life balance, etiquette, self-management, and time-management – given the demands of contemporary jobs, especially during digital onboarding (Anckar, Mäkäräinen-Suni & Lahtinen 2023). The human element is crucial in the digitalization of the workplace.

Technology, while streamlining tasks, significantly influences the fabric of interpersonal dynamics at work. Enhanced tools can foster improved collaboration and foster a sense of unity, wherein one’s work becomes part of a broader, shared organizational mission.

This tech-driven environment, on one hand, empowers every team member, fostering a culture of inclusivity. On the other hand, it propels a shift from face-to-face interactions to a more virtual setting, often leading to longer, more in-depth email communications. Thus, it becomes imperative to reflect upon how technology will mold our personal workplace interactions in the near future.

Challenges and solutions: navigating the tech transformation

Every innovation, as groundbreaking as it might be, brings along its set of challenges. The swift incorporation of new tech tools requires dedicated training, a need to ensure that these tools add tangible value to daily tasks, a persistent concern over data security, and the looming shadow of multitasking in a predominantly remote work setup.

However, every challenge offers an opportunity to innovate further. Employing companies and young talents starting in work life can navigate this tech transformation with ease and finesse by

  • actively partaking in tech development processes,
  • nurturing a positive perspective towards novel tools, and
  • fostering a work culture steeped in continuous learning and adaptability.

As AI and new technologies continue to shape our workspaces, it is crucial to strike a balance in leveraging these tools and ensuring well-being and genuine human connections.

Recognizing the missed opportunities during the pandemic for vulnerable young job-seekers to gain digital skills, the Digital Job Onboarding initiative introduces a training program that encompasses both digital and sustainability aspects. The curriculum focuses on technical skills, and a comprehensive digital transformation encompassing technology, self-management, legal, ethical, and sustainability factors. The project aims to involve approximately 300 youths by its conclusion.


Anckar, R., Mäkäräinen-Suni, I. & Ruohonen, A. 2023. Digital Job Onboarding – A European Joint Education Project Enhances Employability and Digital Job Onboarding of Young Job-Seeking Europeans, INTED2023 Proceedings, pp. 2122-2130.

Nikina-Ruohonen, A., Kauttonen J. & Humala, I. 2021. AI is here – support, skills and cooperation are the way forward. Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. Conference presentation of research results. Staff Exchange Week conference April 22, 2021. Helsinki, Finland.