The idea that a high-skilled job awaits everyone is a myth - yet one deeply ingrained in the minds of policymakers and the media. When will we learn to live with low-skilled work?
But for too many of us, work is far from a labour of love. Over 7 million people in working households live below the poverty line. Pay has yet to recover to its pre-crisis level nearly a decade since the crash. And barely a week passes without another news story reporting the mistreatment of workers.
Will the emergence of new technologies make matters better or worse? While some predict the mass automation of jobs, downward pressure on wages and excessive surveillance in the workplace, others believe a new machine age will usher in work that is more human, productive and purposeful.
With support from our partners, the RSA has launched a new Future Work Centre to explore these impacts in more depth. Our intention is to equip policymakers, employers and educators with the insights to prepare today’s workers for tomorrow’s workplace.
Our Future Work Centre covers three core questions:
- What are the drivers behind the ‘good work gap’ – the difference between our vision of good work and the everyday reality?
- What impact will radical technologies have on the workplace – including but not limited to artificial intelligence, robotics and digital platforms?
- How can we modernise our social contract so that it prepares workers for these shifts?
In answering these questions, we will aim to get behind the headlines, unpick the nuance of debates, and canvass the views of all those who can change the system.
Good work in the new machine age
The world of work is changing. A new machine age, powered by advances in artificial intelligence, robotics and digital platforms, promises to transform a variety of occupations and sectors. But is this a future to fear or welcome?