Labour

‘We are ready to try a four-day working week’

Right now a general sense of uncertainty is sweeping the nation. Brexit, an obesity epidemic, the NHS at breaking point, global warming and unrealistic house prices are just some of the hurdles Britain currently faces. You only have to turn on the news to feel some major pangs of anxiety. The extreme level of chaos in our outer world […]

March 22nd, 2019|CEOs, Labour|0 Comments|
  • Permalink Gallery

    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 […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    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 […]

Can millennials save the labour movement?

Millennials – born between 1980 and 2000 – are disproportionately employed in low skill occupations, with nonstandard employment arrangements, and in nonunionised workplaces. Their working conditions in general tend to be worse in comparison to older generations. They are also less likely than older workers to be union members even though they may have a more favourable view of […]

December 19th, 2018|Labour|2 Comments|

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 […]

We must challenge the centrality of paid work in our lives

Unemployed people tend to have significantly worse health and wellbeing compared to people in paid work. With hundreds of empirical studies, this is one of the most persistent findings in social science research and holds across time and place.

In trying to explain the impact of unemployment on health, researchers have often been drawn to the social psychologist Marie Jahoda’s influential theory. […]

July 21st, 2018|Labour|2 Comments|

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

    Following in the parents’ footsteps: nepotism or transfer of skills?

Following in the parents’ footsteps: nepotism or transfer of skills?

The observed low rate of social mobility in several contemporary societies is a matter of a lively debate. Is it the unavoidable consequence of the transmission (genetic or not) of skills and abilities? Or is it mostly the result of an unfair society that prevents an efficient allocation of talents and favours children with better social connections?

Liberal professions such […]

July 12th, 2018|Labour|0 Comments|
  • 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

    Misfit: what do you do when you can’t be yourself at work?

Misfit: what do you do when you can’t be yourself at work?

The misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.  —   Steve Jobs
Most of us, like Steve Jobs, have come […]

  • 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 […]

Whether you like it or not, office politics is unavoidable

We meet many people in organisations who have an ingrained aversion to organisational politics. They see politics as divisive, sinister and illegitimate. They say: ‘Without politics, this organisation would function smoothly’. They are wary of the competition for jobs, status and power which often leads to dishonesty and manipulation. They fear that political skill is incompatible with personal authenticity […]

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 […]

When work interrupts us after hours

The changing landscape of technology-enabled connectivity is shifting how our work and personal lives interface, especially how we juggle work and non-work demands. In large part due to the ubiquitous nature of mobile devices that blur the boundaries between our work and personal lives, work has now become a significant presence in our life outside the workplace, interrupting our […]

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 […]