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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 levels nearly a decade since the crash. And barely a week passes without another news story reporting the mistreatment of workers.

Advances in artificial intelligence and robotics, the emergence of new business models, demographic shifts leading to increased caring responsibilities, and the competitive forces of globalisation are all trends that will further disrupt our labour market.

The RSA believes that a better world of work is possible. With practical interventions, thoughtful policy change and bottom-up movements, we can ensure that everyone has the chance to flourish in a vocation of their own.

Our Future of Work research programme covers three core questions:

  1. What does work look like today? 
  2. What do we want work to look like tomorrow?
  3. How can we use policy and practice to realise that vision?

In answering these questions we aim to get behind the headlines, unpick the nuance of debates, and canvass the views of those who can change the system.

Our four research themes are:

  1. Technology and automation – How might AI and robotics be used to enrich rather than diminish the lives of workers?
  2. The social contract – What is the appropriate balance of rights and responsibilities between workers, the state, consumers and employers?
  3. Lifelong learning – How can we create an affordable yet effective system of continual learning that can aid career progression in this new era of work?
  4. Worker voice and employee engagement – What would it take to give workers a meaningful stake and voice in their organisations?

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