Future of Work

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    How will the UK tackle its welfare challenge in light of technological unemployment?

How will the UK tackle its welfare challenge in light of technological unemployment?

To say that the world is changing rapidly is an understatement. Climate catastrophe and that little thing called Brexit have been dominating the 2019 election.

These issues are important, but it might be a useful time to draw attention to another issue on the horizon that will play a fundamental role in our collective future – a fourth industrial revolution. This […]

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    Hidden in plain sight: the ghost in the automation and future of work debate

Hidden in plain sight: the ghost in the automation and future of work debate

Looking at the big picture it is not easy to pick your way through the media representations of the debate around automation, robots and the future of work. Sources and multiple studies are, in fact, very variable in quality, evidence and rigour. Nevertheless, media narratives seem to polarise around two storylines — hype or fear. “Hype” tells us that […]

Lessons from the uberisation of lawyers in China

Uber, Deliveroo, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Upwork — internet-based, on-demand work platforms have successfully found their ways into various aspects of our daily lives. What has been overlooked in most discussions on online gig work is the increasing participation of high-skilled, licensed professional workers, such as doctors and lawyers. While online professional services remain insignificant in most Western countries, they […]

September 3rd, 2019|Future of Work, Labour|0 Comments|
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    To tackle precarity in the platform economy, shift the narrative

To tackle precarity in the platform economy, shift the narrative

In our increasingly digitised world, a crucial role is played by online platforms. These platforms — dynamic websites which constitute digital public squares or marketplaces — affect the economy and our society in various ways and their regulation (or lack thereof) is increasingly the subject of public and political debate. Whether it be the way in which Facebook deals […]

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    We are heading towards a skills-based, rather than degree-based labour market

We are heading towards a skills-based, rather than degree-based labour market

The rise of tech is currently transforming the labour market, leading to the automation of some jobs and tasks on the one hand and the emergence of new kinds on the other. Proactively preparing for this new reality requires an in-depth, granular understanding of these changes and their impact on jobs and employment. LinkedIn data is able to provide […]

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    Not the gig economy: on the immense value of the growing freelancer ‘project economy’

Not the gig economy: on the immense value of the growing freelancer ‘project economy’

Everyone knows about the ‘gig economy’. In fact, the term is so widely used in the media, it can sometimes seem hard to avoid talking about it. But it is by no means the only form of work among the 4.8 million-strong self-employed community, and not enough is understood about the many other forms of freelance work.

A new report […]

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    ‘Human plus artificial’ intelligence: the future of work in the investment industry

‘Human plus artificial’ intelligence: the future of work in the investment industry

What is the future of work in the investment industry? How do we, as providers of human capital prepare for the evolution of this profession? What does it mean for employers seeking to engage and motivate staff over the long term?

It is widely accepted that, like most other industries, the financial services industry is in a state of flux. […]

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    Exploring the debate on the future of work: the end of management?

Exploring the debate on the future of work: the end of management?

From a series of classroom discussions at Paris-Dauphine University focused on the transformation of work, we were able to identify three key trends.

The first striking point is the inflation of words, fashionable concepts, ideas and debates around the transformation of work (especially the keyword and hashtag #futureofwork and the strange absence of the keyword #futureofmanagement). Interest in the future […]

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    Working in the ‘platform economy’: what is it really like?

Working in the ‘platform economy’: what is it really like?

Isn’t the ‘platform’ economy wonderful? Uber. Deliveroo. Convenience and low prices for customers. Really, what’s not to like? But what do platform workers themselves think about what they do? Digital ‘platforms’ broker work to freelancers in an online marketplace for talent. Jobs in these new, mostly service, industries offer freedom and flexible working conditions. Many workers value this as […]

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    The challenge of dealing with ‘double disruption’: Brexit and technology

The challenge of dealing with ‘double disruption’: Brexit and technology

Our work at the Institute for the Future of Work (IFOW) has been focusing on two major forces of disruption that the UK economy is experiencing. The first, Brexit, will involve a sharp change in the structure of economic activity. Membership of the European Union has shaped the British model of capitalism and the structure, and operation, of core industrial […]

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|
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    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 […]

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    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 […]

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    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 […]

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    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 […]

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    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 […]