A blueprint for good work


  • Future of Work
  • Employment

Eight ideas for a new social contract

This report argues that the twin challenges of economic insecurity and labour-market transforming technologies require a new blueprint social contract for good work. We identify five good work principles, consistent with our values and research findings, that should be enjoyed by all:

  1. Security – all should enjoy work that provides enough economic security to participate equally in society
  2. Wellbeing – all should enjoy work that does not harm their wellbeing
  3. Growth – all should enjoy work that grows and develops their capabilities
  4. Freedom – all should enjoy work that provides the freedom to pursue a larger life
  5. Subjective nurture – all should enjoy work that nurtures their subjective working identity

From this, we developed a process for designing a new blueprint social contract to meet these ambitions.

The central aim of our new social contract is a transfer of responsibility away from individuals: we believe individuals should enjoy good work as a right and that it is the responsibility of all the other institutions involved in work to help them secure the five good work principles. In the long run, we believe the lion’s share of this responsibility should move towards worker voice organisations, principally trade unions.

This shift is not just about amplifying worker power. Stronger worker voice organisation can also lead to a more flexible and dynamic capitalism. A more ‘corporatist’ model of capitalism, grounded in a stronger stakeholder relationship between workers, unions and employers, can lead to a social contract that is both more resilient and where firms face less regulatory red tape.

We advocate eight ideas that we hope can form the basis of a new social contract for good work.

Download A Blueprint for Good Work (pdf, 10.1 MB)

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Picture of Alan Lockey
Head of the RSA Future Work Centre and Associate Director

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