Work means different things to different people: some see it as a means of connection, some see it as purposeful and others as a means to an end. We all come to work from different perspectives, but we all contemplate and engage in work in its various forms throughout our lives.
Technology, globalisation and automation are all changing our relationship to work. Over the next decade, the way in which we interact with work will be dramatically different to today. Attitudes around platforms such as Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit have resulted in the disruption of incumbent institutions, businesses and government so much so that countries such as Sweden and Finland explored the introduction of a universal basic income in 2016.
In 2016, we commenced a research project into how work can be “redesigned”, which involved hosting a range of interviews, conversations, salons and forums to provoke discussion and ideas. We spoke to hundreds of leaders and experts across Australia and provoked them into sharing their concepts and ideas around the future of work.
This process encouraged collaboration between sectors and industries, across government, education, business and community, so much so you could say that a network of people now exist who share the same interest as us and are interested in addressing the same set of problems.
“There needs to be an emphasis on educational institutions in moving from careers to a portfolio of skills. The need is on building the portfolio of skills, skills that are transferable, personal and professional, creates adaptable people.“
/ BRONWYN LEE, FOUNDATION OF YOUNG AUSTRALIANS
We uncovered some incredible insights and stories.
YOUTH AND EDUCATION
Issues relating to work are heightened when it comes to youth. Youth aren’t prepared for the revolutionary future of work. Government services and educational institutions teach young people the same things they taught the old generation: work hard and you will be rewarded. This is not the case nowadays – hard work brings you no closer to bounty.
The policy areas for the public sector to consider are the casualisation of the workforce, the rise of task-based work, globalisation and automation of work. We need to consider how Australian workers continue to have access to annual leave, penalty rates, minimum wages and superannuation and other hard-fought entitlements.
The general belief is that technology is only going to improve our ways of working, albeit through disrupting it. Service-based industries are likely to be, and already are, challenged by recent advances in artificial intelligence. And as everyone knows, technology can be the antithesis of productivity, with notifications from Slack, or the urge to check your inbox.
“From a union perspective, how do workers have rights, how do they enforce those rights if they don’t work together in a shared environment?”
/ LIZ POMMER, DEPT. HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
“The future of work has to be engagement.”
/ MUNEESH WADHWA, HUMANITY IN BUSINESS