Labour

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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    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|
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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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    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 […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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    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 […]

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    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 […]

Taking #MeToo into global supply chains

Sexual harassment in the workplace is not a new phenomenon. There have been some well publicised episodes before – Clarence Thomas, Justice in the American Supreme Court, and more recently, Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel retail stores come to mind. But they appeared to be just that: isolated episodes. The flood of allegations unleashed by the #MeToo movement […]

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 […]

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    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 […]

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    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 […]

High engagement at work leads to a better family life

For most people, work and family play an important role in adult life. Work provides us with material resources to ensure family life, and family provides us with love and responsibility to make our work more meaningful and valuable.

Although work gives us many resources, participating in the workforce can also deplete us. Especially in the absence of complementary resources […]

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 […]