Introducing ‘Work 2050’

As I’m sure many of us know by now: the world of work is changing at a rapid pace. The Covid pandemic has both accelerated existing trends (teleworking, the destruction of the high street) and made it all the more clear that our existing way of doing things in general is wildly outdated. Our welfare system is a relic of a time when mass full-time, full employment was the norm; our trade unions have been hemmed in by draconian legislation whilst membership continues its decline; and our current government seems adverse to producing a robust industrial strategy fit both to see us through this unprecedented period but also avert future shocks to our economy.

Other trends of automation, labour market polarisation and the crisis of care are also set to worsen in the absence of significant intervention. To this extent we as a society, and particularly those who earn their income through work, stand at a crossroads, both in the short and longer-terms. As well as a threat to our current ways of working however, these crises also represent an opportunity for new ideas and campaigns that can secure a better future for workers.

This is where Autonomy’s ‘Work 2050’ project comes into play. With the Alex Ferry Foundation’s support, we are embarking on a three-year, collaborative research, consultation and policy project. Our team’s remit is to envisage and build towards the achievement of good work and good working lives across the next three decades. This medium-long term scope allows us to ask frank questions of the present and come to conclusions with regards to a future that will be worth fighting for. We will be looking at:

  • The next steps for securing working time reductions across sectors
  • Revamping welfare institutions
  • Defining green jobs and their complementary infrastructures
  • Detailing what flexibility and security for the worker looks like.

Our advanced data research, analysis and policy proposals, combined with a thorough consultation process with a range of actors (including trade unions and politicians) will ground the foundations for the project. We’re excited to begin – and upcoming work on income redistributions will mark the beginning.

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