Work and employment
This challenge was particularly concerned with understanding trends in working practices and employment, the role that developments in science and technology may play in relation to these practices, and the implications of any emergent trends for education.
The challenge was led by Professor Rob Wilson (Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick). Some of the areas covered by this research challenge are listed below. Outcomes are available in the evidence section.
What are the current dominant views of the future of the organisation and practices of paid and unpaid work?
What are the trends or evidence that are currently excluded or overlooked in these dominant futures?
What are the current trends in motivation and obligation for working and how do these play out across different age groups?
What are the dominant views of the future of employment, and what counter evidence is there to these views?
What are the trends in the commodification of human activity, and potential resistances to these?
What ‘new’ practices and organisation of working are emerging?
What trends are we witnessing in the relationship between ‘working’ and ‘identity’ and how might these play out over the next 20 years?
What relationships between work and leisure may develop 2025 and beyond?
How might these trends play out differently across different geographic locations?
How might these trends play out differently in different socio-economic contexts?
What are the different ‘futures of working’ that might be envisaged, and what are the factors that would contribute to these different futures coming to pass in different contexts?
Scientific and technological trends
What different locations and spaces for working are made possible by networked and communication technologies – and what are the implications of this?
What are the implications of ‘mobile’ and distributed working? And how do these play out in different socio-economic contexts?
What boundaries between personal and professional identities are developing or eroding in online and social networks?
Are new conceptions of productivity and value developing, and what role might ‘labour saving’ technologies play in these debates?
What are the implications of networked and digital technologies for managing work/life balance?
In what ways may emergent technologies facilitate or challenge resistance to dominant employment patterns?
How might relationships between professionals and amateurs change and develop? What form of distinctions may emerge?
How might identities of production and consumption change and develop, and what forms of ‘work’ might develop as a result?
What trends in portfolio working versus single-employer working may develop?
What forms of resistance to dominant work trends are emerging?
What forms of collective work and collaboration might be emerging?
What forms of payment and employment might be facilitated by new technologies?
In what ways may emergent technologies facilitate new forms of economic relationships? (for example, community trading/LETS schemes etc) and how significant might these relationships become?
New sectors/new industries – in what ways may emergent technological and scientific developments generate new industries and in what areas? What sorts of online economies and workplaces are being constructed? What new forms of money are being developed?
How might these different trends and tensions interact to create diverse potential futures? And what are the factors that might contribute to these different futures coming to pass?
Education, technology and society
What might be the skillsets and knowledges required to participate in the formal economy from now until 2025-2050?
What might be the skillsets and knowledges required to participate in the informal economy from the present until 2025-2050?
How might ‘employability’ be defined in 2025 and beyond?
What new models of relationship between education and economics might be considered in these futures?
What teaching and learning practices best support the development of these different skillsets?
When will education be important in the lifecourse of individuals in ensuring capacity to participate in formal and informal economies?
What competencies will be required by individuals and groups to promote and develop wellbeing in these different working futures?