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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]