Future of Work

Are blue-collar jobs turning white?

Manual jobs in European manufacturing are being transformed, as blue-collar workers take on more intellectual tasks. This is a consequence of the increasing use of digital tools and the growing importance of quality control in production. The severe losses of medium-paying jobs in the manufacturing sector during the economic crisis raised concerns about its future role and contribution to […]

October 18th, 2018|Future of Work|0 Comments|

Are freelancers a breed apart?

Amelia is a web designer. After graduating from ITC in Milan in 2013, she went through a series of precarious, underpaid, jobs in ITC firms until a friend of a friend commissioned her with the development of his firm’s website. It was then that she realised that being a freelancer could be more profitable and satisfying. Amelia now manages […]

October 10th, 2018|Future of Work|2 Comments|
  • Permalink Gallery

    Can your organisation benefit from embracing the open source way?

Can your organisation benefit from embracing the open source way?

A recent Forbes article indicates that corporate engagement with open source communities has grown to become a strategic imperative over the past couple of decades. An increasing number of companies are paying their employees to contribute to such communities. This is one manifestation of a broader growing trend toward closer collaboration between companies and open source communities. Well-recognised companies […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    The potential to automate low-wage jobs in the U.S. and its impact on workers

The potential to automate low-wage jobs in the U.S. and its impact on workers

The extent to which firms can substitute labour with technology is a longstanding question that has grown in policy importance as automation technology spreads to a larger range of jobs. In our forthcoming paper, we contribute to this important issue by quantifying the potential to automate low-wage jobs in the U.S. labour market and examining its impact on low-wage […]

The future of work and how we can change it

If there is one overriding narrative is that the future of work consists of more insecure, poor quality and low wage work and/or no jobs at all as robots, AI and automation replace human beings. These narratives are wrong, at least in the foreseeable future, which I arbitrarily put at 20 years. Futurologists and science fiction writers are better […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Robots, robots everywhere. What does it mean for developing countries?

Robots, robots everywhere. What does it mean for developing countries?

Stunning technological advances in robotics and artificial intelligence are being reported virtually on a daily basis: from the versatile mobile robots in agriculture and manufacturing jeans to autonomous vehicles and 3D-printed buildings.

In fact, the International Federation of Robotics estimates that next year the stock of industrial robots will grow by more than 250,000 units per year concentrated in production […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    We need full employment and fair incomes, not unemployment and basic incomes

We need full employment and fair incomes, not unemployment and basic incomes

The automation debate – whether robots will take your job – has led to a dangerous theory: we face mass unemployment, so we need a basic income. A host of billionaires support this theory: Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Elon Musk of Tesla, Pierre Omidyar of eBay, and maybe Jeff Bezos of Amazon. There is academic support. Two researchers did […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Christopher Pissarides: ‘I’d like to see a UK equivalent of Germany’s Work 4.0 white paper’

Christopher Pissarides: ‘I’d like to see a UK equivalent of Germany’s Work 4.0 white paper’

In late 2016, the German government published the white paper ‘Work 4.0’, the result of 18 months of discussion with academia, trade unions, employer organisations and the public. The paper was a blueprint for how society should face the technological disruption taking place in the world of work and business. This is what Sir Christopher Pissarides thinks the UK should do if it wants to […]

Why the co-working industry must take creativity seriously

The rapid, ongoing growth of the co-working industry reflects a broader transformation: over the past decade or so, work has not merely become increasingly flexible and entrepreneurial – it has also been reinvented as a commodity. Sold to people desiring autonomy, comfort and a cure to entrepreneurial loneliness (among other things), co-working providers are refashioning work as a consumer experience requiring […]

The impact of the technical revolution on our well-being

At the recent XXI World Congress on Safety and Health in Singapore, Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, Secretary General of the International Social Security Association (ISSA), asked a large audience of international leaders and safety practitioners whether the fourth industrial revolution, largely driven by digital technology, will be good or bad for worker’s health and safety.

Overwhelmingly the answer that came back was […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    How the law profession adjusts to competitive changes in the UK

How the law profession adjusts to competitive changes in the UK

The UK legal industry is currently navigating a state of transition and flux, largely brought on by a sharp, unrelenting increase in competition. This level of change has led to an increasingly fragmented industry, as individual law firms make sense of and respond to these changes in different ways. Technology, and website design in particular, provides firms with the […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Flexible working is slowly going mainstream, and it isn’t just for mums

Flexible working is slowly going mainstream, and it isn’t just for mums

It’s only five years since we launched the first Timewise Power List; but a great deal has changed since then. At the time, the business conversation around part-time and flexible working was in its infancy. There was a prevailing view that working part-time wasn’t an option for senior employees, and that really it was just a perk for parents […]

What are we talking about when we talk about mobility?

Mobility is a polysemic notion. We here only allude to geographical mobility, understood as physical movement in a professional setting. It may refer to working in a different space than the usual one, as well as to professional trips (whether these are systematic or not). Add to that daily commuting between home and the workplace, which, according to the […]

The fast growth of co-working spaces in London

The growth of shared, flexible urban workspaces for startups and SMEs (small and medium enterprises) is now a striking, and very visible feature of British cities. Over the past decade or so, startups and small firms in retail, manufacturing, arts, the cultural industries and the digital economy have been making creative use and re-use of urban spaces – through […]

Digital labour markets: The hard questions

In 1770 Wolfgang von Kempelen presented a sort of robot called the Turk (hidden inside there was, in reality, a person operating it) that could beat humans at playing chess. The robot toured Europe, eliciting contrasting reactions about the future robotisation. The first digital labour market for the trading of micro-tasks was tellingly named Amazon Mechanical Turk and presented […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    The gig economy reshapes how people work – and what they learn (or don’t)

The gig economy reshapes how people work – and what they learn (or don’t)

The trend has a catchy name, melding the vibe of edgy jazz clubs with the tech savvy of the smartphone era: the gig economy. And it’s catching on, especially among Millennials; a Brookings study found that the number of Americans, many of them young, employed as freelancers, contract workers and in other nontraditional work jumped 60 per cent between […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Buffer: ‘Why we abolished the office and became a fully remote team’

Buffer: ‘Why we abolished the office and became a fully remote team’

Two years ago, our already fully remote team of then 50 people decided to close down our only remaining tie to the traditional workforce, a small office in San Francisco. Here’s why we decided to be a remote company in the first place, how it’s going for us, and what’s next for a company with no office.

First, let’s look […]

Slacking it? The problems of technology at work

Slack, if you have never come across it before, is an instant messaging application. As the company itself explains, it is ‘team communication for the 21st century’ and one intended to result in work having ‘less email’ and becoming ‘more productive.’ They claim that their ‘customers see an average 48.6% reduction in internal email.’ We can all relate to […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Gig economy: Disruption can bring benefits for workers and consumers

Gig economy: Disruption can bring benefits for workers and consumers

The world of work is being transformed, driven by rapid developments in technology, globalisation, and demographic change. Now, the concept of ‘employment’ itself seems to be increasingly past its sell-by date. A proliferation of new, online platforms has made access to paid work easier and more efficient than ever before by instantaneously connecting people who have work they need […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Co-workers and makers: New public policies and corporate strategies for the city

Co-workers and makers: New public policies and corporate strategies for the city

Collaborative movements and communities—co-workers, makers, hackers, and fabbers— stir tremendous controversy because they expose all the paradoxes and contradictions of the ongoing transformations of work practices and capitalism. Work is being redefined by the growing number of entrepreneurs and freelancers while organisations are being transformed by a new work ethos. The ‘do-ocracy’ is establishing itself as the favoured organisational […]