Framework of Future Industrial Worker Characteristics

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Päivi HeikkiläSusanna AromaaHanna LammiTimo Kuula

Abstract: The ways of working are changing in the manufacturing industry due to new technologies and the merging of physical and virtual environments (e.g., Industry 4.0 [1], Metaverse [2]). Already, work tasks are changing from physical and routine tasks towards intellectual and social activities which often include the use of ICT tools [3]. The pandemic has changed attitudes and ways of working towards hybrid arrangements and therefore, expectations related to flexibility in work may become more pertinent also for manufacturing workers [4]. Novel technologies are being developed to support the industrial worker in the future [5], which can be called augmentation or empowerment of workers [6-8].The World Manufacturing Forum has identified the top ten skills that will be needed in future manufacturing work [9]. In our study, we wanted to add understanding of the skills and characteristics needed in future industrial work and present the results in a format that would support designers of technological tools to consider the perspective of future workers. Our goal was to create a framework of worker characteristics that could guide the design of technological tools to assist workers in work tasks requiring new skills and characteristics. To understand the transformation of work and to create a framework, we conducted a literature review and 10 expert interviews, focusing on the ways emerging technologies are expected to change the nature of industrial work. Based on the results, a framework of future industrial worker characteristics (FIW) was created. The applicability of the framework was tested by applying it in a European research project that develops software solutions for the context of modern, flexible, and data-rich manufacturing. Altogether, 19 novel software solutions that are being developed to support industrial work were mapped using the characteristics of the framework. The mapping experiment provided understanding of the relevance of the worker characteristics and the ways to support them in practice.According to the FIW framework, future industrial work will require smarter operations, which emphasizes worker capabilities in terms of mastering complexity, solving problems, making proactive decisions, and considering sustainability. Transforming work requires resilience that can be strengthened by capabilities such as creativity, the ability to lead oneself, flexibility, and continuous learning. Being interactive will be a vital part of work and can be fostered by communication, collaboration, supporting inclusiveness and interculturality, as well as sharing a safety-oriented mindset and work practices. In addition, health and well-being will have a central role in the future work. A healthy worker can be characterized as feeling motivated, balanced, capable, and focused.The FIW framework can be used by designers and industrial companies to guide the design and acquirement of novel technology solutions to support the characteristics of future industrial work, and in general, to increase understanding on transformation of industrial work from the perspective of worker skills and characteristics. In the future, it would be good to apply the framework in other research cases and industrial contexts to find out the possible development needs and ways to embed the framework in the design or evaluation processes.REFERENCES[1]Henning Kagermann, Wolfgang Wahlster and Johannes Helbig. 2013. Recommendations for Implementing the Strategic Initiative INDUSTRIE 4.0: securing the future of German manufacturing industry. 82.[2]Sang-Min Park and Young-Gab Kim. 2022. A Metaverse: taxonomy, components, applications, and open challenges. IEEE Access [3]Eurofound. 2018. Wage and task profiles of employment in Europe in 2030. [4]Gartner 2023. 9 Future of Work Trends for 2023. Available: [Accessed Feb 15, 2023].[5]David Romero, Johan Stahre, Thorsten Wuest, Ovidiu Noran, Peter Bernus, Åsa Fast-Berglund and Dominic Gorecky. 2016. Towards an operator 4.0 typology: A human-centric perspective on the fourth industrial revolution technologies. CIE 2016: 46th International Conferences on Computers and Industrial Engineering. [6]Eija Kaasinen, Franziska Schmalfuß, Cemalettin Özturk, Susanna Aromaa, Menouer Boubekeur, Juhani Heilala, Päivi Heikkilä, Timo Kuula, Marja Liinasuo and Sebastian Mach. 2020. Empowering and engaging industrial workers with Operator 4.0 solutions. Computers & Industrial Engineering 139, 105678.[7]Roope Raisamo, Ismo Rakkolainen, Päivi Majaranta, Katri Salminen, Jussi Rantala and Ahmed Farooq. 2019. Human augmentation: Past, present and future. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 131, 131-143.[8]Francisco Betti and Thomas Bohne. 2022. Augmented Workforce: Empowering People, Transforming Manufacturing.[9]The World Manufacturing Forum. 2019. Skills for the Future of Manufacturing.

Keywords: Human-Centred Design, Industrial Work, Industry 5.0, Future Industrial Worker

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1002927

Cite this paper: