Work and employment
TOP KEYWORDS: work, employment, education, technology, society
ABSTRACT: This paper was commissioned as part of a series of reviews for the Working and Employment Challenge of the Beyond Current Horizons project on the future of education. ...
The reviews all focus on particular issues relating to work and employment. This paper provides a series of ‘quick reviews’
The six topics are:
1. The importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
2. Children’s work
3. Entrepreneurial activity and practices
4. Innovation and intellectual property rights
5. Emerging economies in virtual worlds
6. Possible negative effects of technological developments
For each topic any relevant and necessary definitions of key terms are set out alongside an overview of the importance and relevance of each topic to the UK economy and society. This is then followed by some contextual information regarding each topic. Appropriate recent statistics are given where possible. The main issues and areas of concern for each topic are discussed. Finally, for each topic, possible future directions and outcomes are presented.
TOP KEYWORDS: science, technology, engineering, maths, children, innovation, economics
ABSTRACT: This paper has been prepared as part of the Review paper series for the Working and Employment Challenge of the Beyond Current Horizons programme of work on the future...
of education. It outlines why a sub-national perspective on employment and skills is important when considering work, employment and education issues. It argues that there are sub-national variations in employment structures, skills profiles and the quality of the educational infrastructure, such that economic opportunities and life chances vary across space – in a way that matters more for some people than for others. In turn, this has led to a greater emphasis than formerly on policy making and delivery at sub-national level. (The term ‘sub-national’ is used here to subsume a range of geographical scales – from the regional and city-regional to the local and neighbourhood.)
The first section provides a general introduction to ‘why place matters’. It highlights the importance of geography for individuals’ economic prospects and of history in understanding the current and future fortunes of places. The second section presents a high-level overview of some of the main features of sub-national variations in the quantity and quality of employment. The third section is concerned with the geography of labour markets, while the question ‘For whom does geography matter most?’ is posed in the fourth section. The penultimate section touches on policy development, including the trend towards devolving decision making and the consequent regionalisation and localisation of employment and skills policies and of interventions to combat worklessness. The final section summarises some possible implications for the future of education.
TOP KEYWORDS: employment, geography, work, education, economy, labour
ABSTRACT: It is assumed that as time progresses the formal economy becomes ever more important to everyday life. Whereas in the past people often worked on a subsistence basis...
and bartered goods and services, people now ‘work’ and pay taxes on their income. Informal economies are thus seen as either illegal or a residue from past practices, both a brake on the development of the formal economy. Nowhere is this seen more starkly than in neo-liberal development theories, within which ‘developing economies’ are implored to increase GDP, open up to globalisation and ‘become more like the west’. Of course many informal practices are illegal and have wide-reaching negative consequences, such as the sale of illegal drugs and the trafficking of people. While the incomes generated from these processes are huge, and they interact with the formal economy as illegally gained money is washed into the formal sphere, this paper will not consider them in great detail. Rather, the various roles and scale of work that is not registered with the state but which is legal in all other aspects will be used to show that there is little evidence that the informal sphere is declining in importance.
One of the main arguments presented below is that the narrow definition of informal work, that it is a remnant of a previous time, fails to recognise the diversity of practices in operation and their relationships to the formal economy. To broaden the definition social scientists have delineated three main forms of informal work. The first is ‘self-provisioning’ which is the unpaid household work undertaken by household members for themselves or for other members of their household. The second is ‘unpaid community work’, which is unpaid work conducted by household members by and for the extended family, social or neighbourhood networks and more formal voluntary and community groups. The final, major, form is ‘paid informal work’ which is monetised exchange unregistered by or hidden from the state for tax, social security and/or labour law purposes but which is legal in all other respects. By exploring these definitions it can be shown that informal work can have many positive elements and there are many linkages between the formal and informal spheres. In numerous instances people would not be able to operate formally without their informal practices, and thus people operate this way for far more reasons than simply to avoid tax payments.
To enable these discussions the paper is split into two main sections. The first examines the major trends in the relationship between formal and informal economies. To begin, it will detail in more depth the commoditisation thesis before examining the wide spectrum of informal work practices that can be observed, and some of the motivations behind their use. Next, the linkages between formal and informal work will be discussed. Within academia a rather romantic notion of informal work can sometimes be observed: that, for example, it provides sites of resistance to capitalism or an alternative to the market economy. While for some this is true, the paper here considers that in some instances informal economies can be exploitative in their nature. The final consideration of the major trends section is a brief exploration of how informal economies are evident in virtual economies and worlds. The paper’s second substantive section explores, in turn, the probable and preferable futures for informal work. Before its concluding section the paper also briefly considers the implications of the above discussions on education.
TOP KEYWORDS: work, home, economics, family, community
ABSTRACT: This paper tries to do two things:
• Firstly, explore what we know about what leadership is and how that view has shifted over time
• And secondly to understand how management and...
leadership contribute to organisational performance
It might be expected that these two aspects are completely compatible, that our understanding of what leadership is should be closely entwined with our understanding of the impact it has. We shall see that this is far from true. We explore what we understand about what leadership is, before moving on to explore its impact.
TOP KEYWORDS: leadership, employment, work, workforce
ABSTRACT: Although it is generally recognised that modern economies require the use of continually greater skills, the notion of skill is often translated to mean education. Thus, a more educated...
workforce is being sought by all governments in the advanced industrialised economies. However, education is not exactly the same thing as skill, and sometimes the amount of education a person has received is only a loose indicator of how skilled that person is, or will be, at work. Education is quite a good indicator for some occupation-specific skills, particularly in the professional and scientific fields of occupations. But even in professional jobs a great deal more than technical expertise is required in order to be a competent worker. What is needed is an array of communication and interactive skills, physical skills in some cases, the facility to work autonomously, as well as traditional cognitive skills. This paper is about these generic skills that are sometimes argued to be an important ingredient of the growing demand for skills. Are they really becoming more important in British industries? If so, why? And what might be the implications?
Also important for employers in many jobs is a set of attitudes to work, such as honesty and reliability. These are sometimes referred to as “skills” by recruitment managers, especially when reporting that they face skill shortages. However, in this paper I shall not be considering such attitudes in the category of generic skills, and will not discuss any potential changes in their importance.
TOP KEYWORDS: skills, economics, work, education, technology
ABSTRACT: The paper attempts to lay out the key ways in which ICT pervades the world of work, and then explores how future developments might be expected to continue or...
adjust the major changes already seen. Some implications for related understanding and skill needs from the formal education system are then considered.
TOP KEYWORDS: IT, technology, work, employment, enabling technology
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this paper is to examine the notion of meaning as it relates to working life, with a view to extrapolating some implications for thinking about the...
future of education to 2025 and beyond. The paper comprises five sections. First, it examines some of the difficulties of the phrase “the meaning of work” and the different senses and contexts that scholars employ the term; second, it looks in more depth at meaning as a matter of interpretation – what work means to the people who do it; the third section examines meaning in the related, but perhaps more up-tempo, personal sense of “meaningful work” or “the quest for meaning” – in essence work as an expression of one’s inner life and a source of fulfilment; the fourth section introduces some criticisms of these ideas and some theories of historical change around notions of meaning that have received attention in recent years, in particular the idea that searching for meaning is becoming more of a preoccupation as societies and production systems advance and develop; and finally, the last section concludes the paper and suggests, albeit tentatively, what the discussion of the meaning of work implies for the future of education.
TOP KEYWORDS: economics, work, employment, education, friendship
ABSTRACT: Equipping individuals with the skills and understanding required to make appropriate career transitions, as well as supporting them on their journeys throughout life, are critical not only for an...
effectively functioning economy, but also for individual well-being. If children are properly supported in making their early career decisions, it is more likely that they will recognise the value of continuous learning, make progress towards realising their full potential and lead more fulfilling lives. By facilitating successful transitions into paid employment, high quality careers guidance can also help ameliorate social deprivation and poverty:
Mounting evidence suggests that an individual’s level of consumption, self-esteem, social-status, and even happiness depend to a large extent on not just income, but also social status, associated with occupational attainment.
(Brown, Sessions and Taylor, 2004, p20)
Indeed, whilst the funding of careers guidance is commonly justified in terms of its contribution to creating and maintaining an efficiently functioning economy, it could equally be argued that it is justifiable in terms of contributing to the health and well-being of the nation.
This paper will reflect on current careers provision in the UK, consider likely directions for its development and speculate on what could, and should, be. In so doing, the focus of the paper will incorporate discussions of models of careers development that would be necessary to support the more speculative scenarios.
TOP KEYWORDS: work, careers, employment, society, deprivation, Lifelong Learning
ABSTRACT: Does the veracity of trends matter? Are there not circumstances where the analysis is wrong, the trend a meaningless fake, but which is nevertheless a useful catalyst for...
change? In this sense, does the real future matter?
Future Foundation conference flier, 2006
The future is a great unknown and attempts to predict it are both fraught with difficulty and also contain a risk of producing prophecies that mislead. The future is also surrounded by an industry of gurus, consultancies and futurologists, all of whom have wares to sell to the general public, businesses and policy makers. On the whole, this industry delivers more confusion than anything else.
At the same time, it is worth observing that the future is what is driving current skills policy, in particular fears about our falling (further) behind the rest of the OECD in future (see the Leitch Review, 2005 and 2006), and beliefs about the future shape of work that often paint a very simple, uniform picture of high skilled, knowledge intensive work. In other words, the future is being utilised to validate current orthodoxies.
TOP KEYWORDS: knowledge, economics, employment, occupations, business, work, technology
ABSTRACT: 1.1 The conventional view of an individual’s well-being, or utility, in standard economic textbooks is that it employs an objective position, based on observable choices made by individuals (see Pindyck...
and Rubinfeld, 1997; Frank, 2002; Varian, 2002).
1.2 For example, in the study of employment choices, an individual’s utility is assumed to depend on labour income and leisure. An individual is then observed to prefer one bundle of work-leisure choice than another. Given that all the choices made between alternatives satisfy a certain criteria of reasonableness – ie if it is assumed that individuals are rational, fully informed, and seek to maximise utility, a utility function that will explain an individual's preferences between different bundles of work-leisure choice can be inferred from behaviour.
1.3 Over the last few decades, however, there has been a movement within economics that claims that utility should be considered in terms of happiness, and that it can, and should, be measured.
1.4 This development has been fuelled by findings that preferences are often not a very good guide of the well-being associated with the consequences of choices (see eg Kahneman et al, 1991; Kahneman and Thaler, 2006). According to Daniel Gilbert (2006), people often choose to over work in hopes that they could reap the fruits – in terms of higher incomes – of their misery later. Yet when they get there, the happiness that can be gained from extra money is not as high as they often expected it to be.
1.5 The concern for the poor relationship between preferences and well-being outcomes has led to a surging number of research papers during the last decade that have looked specifically at the determinants of happiness. Over the years, researchers now have some insights into the things that make us happy (for a review, see Layard, 2005; Dolan et al, 2008).
1.6 In this review, I will concentrate on the economics of employment choices, with particular references to the role of income, unemployment, education, and leisure choices.
1.7 Three major trends will be discussed. The next section, however, will be used to discuss how to measure happiness and the validity of the happiness scales. A discussion on discontinuities and uncertainties of the research trends, as well as the implications for education will also be made in the latter section of the review.
TOP KEYWORDS: happiness, well-being, employment, work
ABSTRACT: This paper intends to highlight key trends in the development of expertise in the workplace in a way that goes beyond the current obsessions of many people with issues...
concerned with competence, assessment and qualifications when considering work-related skill development. In producing this paper we were asked to consider any possible discontinuities when looking at 2025 and beyond; uncertainties and any big tensions; and conclusions on what the key issues will be in future and initial reflections on any general implications for education. I will therefore highlight (in bold) any of these points within the general narrative.
TOP KEYWORDS: assessment, competence, knowledge, work, education, development, skills, Lifelong Learning
ABSTRACT: This review paper is part of a series of papers commissioned by the Institute for Employment Research at the University of Warwick under the title of 'Beyond Current Horizons...
– Working and Employment Challenge'. In turn, it forms part of a larger programme of work under the banner of Beyond Current Horizons that is being managed by FutureLab on behalf of the UK Department for Schools, Children and Families. The brief was to cover:
The main trends and issues in the area concerned
Any possible discontinuities looking forward to 2025 and beyond
Uncertainties and any big tensions
Conclusions on what the key issues will be in the future and initial reflections on any general implications for education.
Given the wide ranging nature of the brief, this paper largely confines itself to trends and issues in the advanced Western economies, although where appropriate, examples from other countries are introduced.
We realise that in an age of growing globalisation the future of work and learning in the UK cannot be separated from developments elsewhere and that developments in other parts of the world may present a different momentum and trajectory from that in the UK. Thus, when reading this report, please bear in mind the limitations in our approach.
TOP KEYWORDS: personal learning, work, education institutions, employment, industry
ABSTRACT: Work-life balance can be defined from a legislative point of view drawing upon statutes and case law, and from an economic perspective where individuals make trade-offs between the amount...
of time given over to leisure and work given the market price for their labour. The following definition provides a fairly clear context for the present discussion:
“‘Work-life balance’ is meant to articulate the desire of all individuals – not just those with families or caring responsibilities – to achieve and maintain a ‘balance’ between their paid work and their life outside work, whatever their ‘life’ involves, from childcare and housework to leisure or self-development.”
Labour economics have focused on certain aspects of work-life balance, such as the number of hours of work that individuals wish to supply at the going wage and overtime premium, as well as the times of day (or week or year) when they prefer to supply their labour. The theory also shows that length of day and time of day wage premia develop in the market or through collective bargaining to reflect the degree of the unsocial length or timing of work, with jobs that incorporate more unsocial lengths and times of work being paid higher wages, other things equal. However, the tendency for wages to reflect the unsocial work-life balance of particular jobs – and, thereby, offer some degree of compensation for unsocial work patterns – is not the same as demonstrating that the market offers individuals jobs that offer an optimal work-life balance. Indeed, the theoretical framework highlights the existence of sub-optimal outcomes for individuals when they can only find work where the number of hours is longer or shorter than they would ideally like or where the time of day (or week or year) at which they are required to supply their labour is not entirely suited to their lifestyles.
The State recognizes that, left to its own devices, the market is unlikely to deliver a work-life balance that is equitable or indeed fair, however that may be defined, across the population. In other words, the social costs for the country as a whole outweigh the aggregate private returns obtained by employers and (some) individuals delivered by the market in the absence of regulation. The balance the State has sought between work and life has changed over time such that the scope of regulation has broadened from a relatively narrow focus on health and safety and protecting women in the workplace to encompass a wider set of issues that has to some extent loosened the constraints upon the choices all individuals may make about the time they want or need to spend working.
Historically, work-life balance has been viewed with respect to either working time defined in weekly, monthly, or annual hours in formal employment, and the extent to which regulation such as that relating to maternity rights allows people to remain attached to the labour market. Increasingly, there is recognition that work is not limited to formal employment because individuals have, for example, caring responsibilities which they choose to take on themselves, for a variety of reasons, rather than purchasing care from the market. These caring responsibilities occur at different points over an individual’s life-course, as do a range of other preferences individuals have about the time they want to devote to work. So now work-life balance is being viewed more and more from a lifetime perspective in recognition that the trade-offs individuals may want to make between work and leisure will vary over their life-course. The right for an employee to request reduced working hours from their employer is, in part, acknowledgment of this fact.
Policy makers have been determined to show that work-life balance policy in its current form approaches optimality: employers enjoy both a quantitative and qualitative improvement in the supply of labour available to them because work-life balance affects the individual’s productivity at work and helps retain their attachment to the labour market, whereas, in the past, they may have chosen to drop-out; and individuals are better able to balance the various demands made upon their time resulting in a qualitative improvement to their lives. There is no shortage of research literature that purports to show the business and social case for work-life balance and some employers have been almost evangelical in their promotion of it. But work-life balance is a fragile concept insofar as it is predicated upon a strong demand for labour of all types, whereas in fact the demand for certain types of labour is relatively weak, and some employers at least are concerned that it imposes too high a cost upon their activities. Overall, however, work-life balance as a concept is seen as bringing private and social benefits to employers, individuals, and the State.
TOP KEYWORDS: work, economics, employment, home, childcare, lifestyle
ABSTRACT: The recognition that workplaces are learning environments has become widespread in both research and policy circles, but workplace learning is often absent from debates about lifelong learning. Similarly,...
vocational education and training (VET) is also referred to as a separate phenomenon, and, curiously, can even become separated from debates about workplace learning. In the United Kingdom (UK) this separation is partly a result of the long-standing distinction between ‘education’ and ‘training’, between the ‘vocational’ and the ‘professional’, and the continued influence of the academic-vocational divide. It also tends to place young people (teenagers) in separate boxes to adults. All too often, VET is reduced to an umbrella phrase for government-funded training schemes.
The separation has also been fuelled by the way workplace, VET and lifelong learning are positioned within and treated by the research community. Lifelong learning is often used as a catch-all term for the learning that adults do in their spare time away from work and, in that sense, has replaced the term ‘adult education’. To that extent, in our consideration of how the concept of lifelong learning (and its more recent alternative of life-wide learning) will play out in the years to 2025, we have to ask to what extent it is still meaningful since it first came to prominence more than 30 years ago.
In the past ten or so years, however, the walls of the disciplinary silos have been breached to some extent triggering a growth of inter-disciplinary projects bringing together researchers in the fields of education, labour process, sociology of work, human resources, and management (see Evans et al, 2006; Rainbird et al, 2004). The importance of exploring learning from the perspective of the lifecourse has also helped to foster greater inter-disciplinary co-operation (see inter alia Biesta and Tedder, 2007; Field and Malcolm, 2006).
There are a number of reasons why a greater connectivity between workplace learning, VET and lifelong learning would be desirable when looking ahead to 2025. First, work continues to form a major part of people’s lives and, therefore, for their learning. Second, the dynamic nature of the production of goods and provision of services constantly challenges the characteristics and shelf-life of skills and vocational knowledge (see inter alia Guile, 2003; Foray and Lundvall, 1996; Florida, 1995). In addition, the impact of globalization is, according to Brown et al (2008, p7) transforming the way companies “think about the global supply of talent”. Third, the increasing tendency for some people to fuse the work and non-work parts and spaces of their lives (see Felstead’s paper for this review; also Field, 2000) raises questions about the extent to which learning at, through, and for work becomes embedded within lifelong learning rather than separated from it. Fourth, and perhaps of most concern, the conceptual and cultural separation of workplace learning, VET and lifelong learning, as reflected in everyday discourse about education and training, is also mirrored in the UK’s, and particularly England’s institutional and policy architecture. This has its roots in age-old prejudices about the privileging of those who work with the head over those who work with the hand, a prejudice that has found new voice through the promotion of the ‘knowledge economy’ and the ‘knowledge worker’.
This paper discusses the relationship between workplace learning, VET and lifelong learning and argues that greater connectivity is both necessary and also increasingly likely to occur through the sheer force of demand for more innovative ideas to solve the impending global problems of climate change, economic sustainability, and social cohesion. The argument for greater connectivity does not, however, mean that the parts that are being connected should remain as they are – far from it. The opportunity to look to the future should encourage a fundamental examination of the extent to which the existing conceptions of and structures for workplace learning, VET and lifelong learning are adequate and how they might be evolved to meet new challenges.
The paper is divided into three further sections. The first two review the key issues highlighted by researchers that need to be tackled if workplace learning, VET and lifelong learning are to be better connected and to evolve and improve. The final section offers some brief conclusions.
TOP KEYWORDS: vocational education, training, learning environments, Lifelong Learning, adult education, spare time
How will technological change affect opportunities for creating new economic activities, new sectors and new industries to the year 2025?
When attempting to predict the development trajectory of any work technology, and its likely interaction with the path of economic activity, we have little choice but to start by observing and analysing current and emergent trends in technological, social and economic development and projecting these into the future.
Yet the record of such attempts is rather chequered. ‘Future images of the development and impact of technology can often be seen to have gone unrealised when judged retrospectively’ (Geels and Smit, 2000). Change has gone in different directions from those predicted, or has been faster or slower than was thought. For example, if we look back at some of the popular predictions about the coming ‘Information Society’ that were being made in the early 1980s, we can find on the one hand gloomy predictions of the ‘collapse of work’ (Jenkins and Sherman) and, conversely, talk of a coming bright ‘Computopia’ (Masuda) while, according to Toffler, between 1/3 to 1/2 of the working population would be teleworking by the 1990s (for a critical review of these accounts see Baldry, 1988). Two decades later we know the outcome was neither all black nor all blue sky but rather the usual mixture of both. It might be argued that these were, in the main, populist accounts rather than measured academic assessments but these are the stories that grip the public imagination, and are more likely to be read by, and have influence on, business practitioners than a long, detailed (and less dramatic) research report.
Looking back at these broad utopian and dystopian predictions concerning the outcome of the information revolution we can see that many of them were based on two analytical fallacies:
• An implicit level of technological determinism
• A too-narrow definition of technology
TOP KEYWORDS: technology, business, work, IT, economics
ABSTRACT: In a world of hyperbole and exaggeration, nothing seems to excite journalists and headline writers more than the idea that working for eight hours a day in a fixed...
place is a thing of the past. This provides a new twist to the ‘end of jobs’ thesis that was so fashionable just over a decade ago (eg Bridges, 1995). Indeed, many readers’ own experience will no doubt accord with the idea that the world of work is spreading its tentacles throughout time and space. The days when paid employment was confined to designated hours in a specified place are fast fading for many managers, professionals and other white collar workers. Mobile phones, laptops, email, the internet and wireless connections enable deals to be clinched, information to be browsed and careers to be pursued wherever we are in the world and whatever the time. Recent adverts for business systems underline the point that we never need to be disconnected whether we find ourselves flying across the globe, walking in the Brecon Beacons or sipping a beer on a beach in the Red Sea. All are now fully functioning places of work. This does not mean that one place of work is being substituted for another, but rather that everywhere has the potential to become a place of work. Electronic technology means that we no longer need to go to the office; instead, the office comes with us everywhere we go – in the words of a recent palmtop advert this allows us to be ‘always on, always ready, always connected’. Such sentiments are frequently reported in the broadsheets such as the Financial Times and its ‘Business Life’ pages (eg Taylor, 2008).
New places of work, then, are characterized by diversity and fragmentation, movement and mobility – what has sometimes been referred to as the ‘hybidization’ of workspace (Halford, 2005). Work may include using a PC in the back bedroom, a mobile phone headset in the car, a table at a motorway service station, a desk in a corporate office building, a rented meeting room in a serviced office building and a chair in a hotel lobby (cf. Harrison, 2008). To add further complexity, all of these places may be used by one person in a single one day. Contrasting locations call for different skills and working practices. Getting reports written in a crowded railway carriage involves mentally shutting out the noise and distractions of fellow passengers, as well as grabbing and holding on to a seat with a table. Making business calls while stuck in traffic requires that all the right phone numbers have been correctly entered and stored on the handset. Preparing for a meeting by reading the relevant documents while relaxing on a sofa at home may entail negotiations with family members who want to watch TV or play games. Time spent in the office building may require balancing pressures to maintain informal contacts with co-workers with the need to get things done. In short, some places of work pose challenges of isolation and detachment, while others entail managing contacts with family, colleagues and strangers. The diversity and fragmentation of workplaces requires not only coping with a range of demands but also slipping easily from one place to the next.
These changes have profound implications for the texture of everyday life. The times and places of family, friends and employment are no longer clearly marked out and differentiated. Week days are no longer framed by the predictable commute to and from the office. Weekends are no longer times away from work. Nor can holidays be regarded as time taken out from the pressures of work. In response, workers have to devise their own work-life balance in the context of unclear boundaries and competing pressures from managers, colleagues, clients, spouses, children and friends. Workers, therefore, have more discretion over the construction of their daily routines but also need to mobilize high levels of self-direction, self-management and self-motivation. This also has consequences for the pattern of learning at work since workers are physically at a distance from one another making becoming an accepted work colleague as well as learning particular working practices more of a challenge.
The aim of this review is three-fold. First, it charts the extent to which work is being detached from place in the UK. Previous studies have tended to compare the demographic and employment profiles of ‘homeworkers’ or ‘teleworkers’ with those working in the conventional workplace (Felstead, 1996; Hakim, 1998; Felstead et al, 2001; Huws et al, 1999; Mitel, 1999; Hotopp, 2002; Haddon and Brynin, 2005). These studies have done much to focus attention on the home as a place of work. However, they have failed to report on other changes to the spatial location of work such as the spaces individuals occupy while working on employers’ premises and the spaces they use while ‘on the move’, travelling from place to place. The first aim of this review, then, is to chart with available data, the shifting locations of work – both outside and inside the office – and to identify which types of people and jobs have been most affected. The review reports on the changing proportions and numbers of people carrying out work away from the conventional physical boundaries of the office or factory. It also examines the past, current and future use employers are making of techniques intended to effect this change for office workers in particular. In so doing, it adds new statistical evidence to the debate by updating data presented elsewhere (see Felstead et al, 2005a and 2005b) and analyzing data sources not previously examined from such a perspective. Secondly, the review extrapolates some of these trends forwards to the year 2025. Thirdly, the review discusses some of the consequences these changes may have for how and what individuals learn at work in the future. The review is structured around these three key questions with summary answers provided in the conclusion.
TOP KEYWORDS: work, employment, Internet, technology, business
ABSTRACT: While the Lisbon Strategy states that the EU should
“… become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better...
jobs and greater social cohesion”
there is considerable concern at both national and European levels that, currently, innovation is too slow and insufficiently pervasive. In the UK there have been a series of reviews that have outlined the need for greater and more effective investments in science and technology to promote the country’s innovative capability (eg the Sainsbury Review, 2007).
The present paper argues that such concerns are well founded within an increasingly competitive global economy. It argues that while issues remain about highly qualified individuals and relatively high technology organisations, the net has to be spread much wider to make creativity relevant to a much greater proportion of the economy, and to make human capital improvements amongst a much wider percentage of the population.
Section 2 begins by outlining the main elements of the most widely recognised formal R&D, education and innovation triangle, before broadening these elements to other parts of the economic system. Section 3 then provides the main rationale as to why this triangle is so important to the future economic performance of the UK. Section 4 briefly reviews current evidence concerning UK performance with respect to the various elements that comprise the R&D, education and innovation triangle, indicating where improvements are necessary or where more evidence is required. Section 5 outlines the evidence that the market mechanism is either imperfect or failing with regard to performance in these areas. Finally, Section 6 provides the main conclusions.
TOP KEYWORDS: population, knowledge, innovation, society, education, economics, technology
Review of future of paid and unpaid work, informal work, homeworking, the place of work in the family (women single parents, workless households), benefits, work attitudes motivation and obligation
ABSTRACT: Projecting trends into the future, or even just discussing them, is fraught with issues and problems. All too often predictions based on a particular single topic turn out to...
be dramatically untrue or, at best, gross exaggerations. Examples of this in the area covered by this paper include predictions in the early 1980s that vast numbers would move to home working and teleworking; also during the 1990s we were said to be heading for becoming a nation of self employed; and we regularly hear predictions that the post war era of ‘jobs for life’ has ended, never to return –the implication being that everyone will have a number of jobs over their lifetime (or a portfolio of different jobs). Clearly one issue that makes specific predictions difficult is that economies and societies are complex interrelated systems. When one bit of them changes there are ramifications which spread to the rest and sometimes one change can produce an equal and opposite response which moderates the effect of the first change, or may reinforce it. But changes in many walks of life only occur very slowly. We are not always able to see change when it is happening, only in retrospect and when grossed up to aggregate levels. However, external large-scale, even one-off events or disasters, which were unpredicted, and even unpredictable, can also change the direction of trends in society.
On the subject matter of this paper, there is already an existing review attempting to look forward over the first 20-25 years of the twenty-first century world of work (Moynagh and Worsley, 2005). It was commissioned in order to think forward from the results of the ESRC’s large-scale investment, The Future of Work research programme. Some of the findings of this review are incorporated below. Moynagh and Worsley (2005) suggest that the future will revolve around four themes:
• about moving more jobs up the value chain, a trend that has been happening already, but is predicted to increase
• about tight labour markets, more in some regions than others, which will result from a net growth in jobs alongside a demographic decline in young people in the population and growth in demand for certain high value skills, the so-called ‘knowledge workers
• about how people are working (rather than how they are employed or contracted) through the growth of flexible working, part-time hours, more paid work at older ages, self employment, varying locations of work and an expansion of mobile work, and increases in low paid work drawing in more of those who are marginal to the workforce, and
• new management techniques which will involve giving more discretion to employees, a tension between control and decentralisation, greater stress on commitment and winning hearts and minds, recruiting workers who are aligned with the employer’s values, and a broadening of the concept of reward to include a menu remuneration package
However, some of Moynagh and Worsley’s (2005) projections, despite being only three years old, are already starting to look dated and even unlikely. Their projections, and the research on which they were based, were born out of an almost unprecedented era of growth which is now over. The net growth in jobs that underpins some of their projections looks very dubious from the perspective of October 2008. At the time of writing this Review, the collapse of national and world banking systems, and stock market crashes are the talk of the day. Clearly the scale of these events, still unfolding, and the global recession on the horizon, make it already clear that there are serious consequences ahead for the previously taken-for-granted workings of capitalism, and for the world of paid work resting on it. The consequences of these events may not just be short to medium term changes. These events cast a shadow over making predictions about the future world of work and make a downturn in the business cycle with large-scale unemployment the likely context for people’s paid work in the short- and medium-term future. Ultimately the trends may not be derailed by recessions, but the progress along them will certainly be slower than it might otherwise have been.
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